Choosing the Right Exercises After 50

by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)

The older you get the more vital exercise becomes to your quality of life, therefore choosing the right exercises after 50 is of paramount importance. Once you’ve decided you want to start exercising or add more exercise to your life, you need to do some careful planning in order to make sure the exercise you do is actually good for you!.

Don’t head out and try to run several miles or hit the weights hard right out of the gate. The older you get the more important it is you must put some serious thought into choosing the right exercises for their current level of fitness.

If you don’t, then you dramatically increase the chances that your new exercise program will do your body more harm than good and that you will soon be right back on the couch where you started.

The very first thing you need to do before you start your new exercise program is visit your doctor for an evaluation of your current fitness level and risk factors. Let your doctor know that you are planning on starting an exercise program.

The doctor will be glad to help you set realistic fitness goals within your current health limitations. Although your goal will be to exceed these limitations over time, you must have a realistic starting point if you want your fitness program to be successful.

Cardiovascular health is the foundation of a fitness program. This does not mean you should immediately sign up for cardio kick boxing class or don a fuji gi and challenge seasoned mixed martial artists at your local gym. Your initial fitness level, as determined by your doctor, will guide you in your choice of aerobic activities.

When in doubt, start small. In other words, if it has been 30 years since you’ve gotten any exercise start by walking around the block once easy. It may feel too easy, but easy is the best way to start. Get yourself in the habit of exercising daily before you increase the intensity.

Eventually, you want to be able to get 30 minutes to an hour of exercise daily, but you don’t have to start at that level. In fact, one of the only benefits there is to being out of shape is that it doesn’t take much exercise to start improving yourself from that level.

If you have joint problems, try exercising in the pool. Swimming is great cardiovascular exercise. Even walking around in the water is a good start to a cardiovascular fitness program. Some gyms even have underwater treadmills. The water will keep the weight off your joints while you get stronger. Before long, you may suddenly notice that you’ve reached a fitness level high enough to start attending those aerobics classes after all.

If arthritis and joint pain are problems for you, you will definitely need to make sure that you start off very easy both with your total fitness program and with each exercise session. Start your program slowly in order to allow your muscles to get stronger in order to help protect your joints as your exercise intensity increases. In addition, be sure to give your joints time to lubricate before increasing the intensity of your exercise in each session.

A good easy warm-up is vital if you already have joint problems. The good news is that research has shown that exercise will help prevent further joint deterioration for most people. However, keep in mind that if you have arthritis or joint problems you must discuss your exercise program with your doctor and/or physical therapist to make sure you are not making your problem worse.

Bicycling on either a stationary bike or a “real” bike is also a great exercise choice for many people who don’t start exercising until they get older. A bicycle takes the weight off your legs but still enables you to get a great workout.

However, some people with knee or back problems have trouble right a standard bicycle. Many of these people find a recumbent bike to be a better option. A recumbent bike has the rider sitting as if in a regularchair with the pedals out in front. Just as with walking or swimming, you need to start off easy and very gradually build up intensity and exercise time.

Cardiovascular health is only the beginning. Once you have established your exercise routine, you need to start looking into strength training. Current research shows that strength exercise can make a huge improvement in our quality of life as we age. You don’t have to train like a bodybuilder or power lifter to get the benefits either.

A couple of sets on the standard exercise machines you find in your gym can work wonders.
Regular exercise is vital if you want to stay healthy as you age. The key to your exercise program’s success is to start easy and develop an exercise habit before you overdo it and end up quitting. Your body will thank you….choosing the right exercises after 50, hopefully this article has helped you to formulate a plan.