Has age got anything to do with fitness? Well, that’s subjective.
You may think you are too old to do exercises to remain fit. You would prefer to eat less and relax more as a better alternative than do exercises to remain fit. Think again. It’s your apprehension and not the age that’s discouraging you.
The truth is, you can remain fit at any age.
But let me caution you before you put on your sweatshirt, track pants, and trainers. You need not necessarily be doing rigorous exercises as the younger generation does. As you age, the rules of the game also change. Yeah, leniency for seniors! There is always a perfect package that suits your body to remain fit.
Fitness is not about exercise only. It is more about discipline, devotion, and determination. If you realize, the comfort zone that deviates your fitness goal is your enemy, then you have won half the battle. The rest half is about what the best course of action is to achieve your fitness goal.
Ask yourself what does your body need? Is it Strength, Energy, Flexibility? Or is it Immunity? If you know your objectives, then it becomes easier to set your goal.
Here are a dozen super tips that can help you rejuvenate your health and recreate a Smarter You.
If you follow these even when your motivation slips or the weather gets worse or your schedule becomes overwhelming, be assured, you will be as fit as you can ever be. You will be your neighbour’s envy (if not an inspiration) and remain in bliss forever.
1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
This popular adage is ageless. The excitement to get fit might make you bring sudden changes to your current activities. So, one fine day you decide to change your unhealthy lifestyle completely. You stop eating junk food, abstain from tobacco and alcohol, and start strength training and muscle building–all in one go, abruptly.
Even though this appears good enough, it would be short-lived.
Laziness and gluttonous appetite is the by-product of indiscipline. You decide to get fit might be due to peer pressure. So, if you bring an abrupt change to all these, your mind cannot adjust and will resist anything that was not the routine. And in a few weeks’ time, you are back to what you were – a couch potato – Argh!
So bring a gradual but consistent curb to shedding your incorrect lifestyle for a lasting effect towards betterment. Simultaneously replace it with healthy habits and activities. You can be the winner.
2. Not Willpower but Purpose Alone Works
If willpower was your motivator, you would never be physically unfit. And if you are new to exercising, then willpower may not really help always. Your mind would take a significant time to accept a new regime. It would overpower your fitness plans until you drop.
Instead, find a meaningful purpose for doing fitness activity.
Think creatively and build a purpose that provides benefits too. For example, walking or cycling to your workplace will not only provide adequate physical activity and but also cut your costs on transportation. Or climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift can be livelier; jogging with a buddy can be a pleasant way to start/end the day’s activities; laughter can surely be a good stress-buster.
A purpose in life can make your willpower more meaningful. So, re-engineer your mind to think and build a purpose that becomes sustainable behaviour.
3. Plan and Schedule your Activities
One of the main reasons for many newbies to discontinue fitness programs is they fail to plan and schedule their activities.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
You may be adding up exercises to an already packed schedule for the day. So, prioritizing your activities should be meticulous, not haphazard. Your top priority should stick to a schedule that’s convenient for your workouts.
If fitness is your immediate goal, then tick that as your first activity of the day and adjust the remaining activities to accommodate without clashing. If running or jogging is on your list, then decide which route, for how long, at what speed, etc. This will allow your mind to set a start-time end-time schedule to accept this activity gracefully. Likewise, you can set the clock for other types of exercises.
4. Don’t Push the Envelope
If the activity does not agree well to your body, then don’t push too hard. Simply put, if it hurts, don’t do it. Replace it to something better.
As you age, all exercises may not be your cup of tea. No-pain-No-gain does not necessarily apply to all fitness enthusiasts. First check your body statistics, discuss with your personal trainer for an ideal fitness program and then put your best foot forward. Yet make sure you are not rejecting because you want something simpler and convenient. Remember, your comfort zone is your enemy.
Analyze why you cannot do a particular activity. Don’t blame the exercise (or your trainer) for your failure; you will crumble down the whole fitness program. If something doesn’t work, try a similar one that provides the same benefit, if not more. There are many alternatives to achieve the same goal with similar efforts.
5. Ageing Casualties – Resistance and Balance
As you age, your resistance power and balance are the two casualties initially. Your muscular mass weakens with age, and that’s normal. So, these two segments of fitness are of critical importance. Improving these will not only result in good health but also motivate you to do more and better.
Resistance training can be done with press-ups using bodyweight and also use equipment like resistance bands.
Initially, resistance training might not help in muscle building but it can arrest the muscle loss. Adding to this, you can also do Pilates and Aerobics to improve your balance. Age factor is the culprit in your body imbalance but you can overcome it by regular practice.
6. Kick that Negative Attitude
To maintain a healthy regimen is a daunting task. It’s easy to get discouraged while trying to get fit, especially if you haven’t been successful in the past. As you age, the motivation drops further and rapidly.
But it’s time to discard that negative attitude. Change the negative mindset that pulls you back. Is your body statistics embarrassingly bad? Say, so what? You will change that. Train your mind to think positive to fight back the pain and laziness that retards your progress.
Interact with people who could overcome their negativity and transformed their physique. They will be supportive to sustain your drive to push forward.
If you are serious about your fitness goals, then it’s important to realize that your goals may make some of those around you squirm with envy. You may even expect some negative reactions from them. This would have you wonder whether to continue to drive forward or go back to your sedentary lifestyle.
Walk away when someone offers that negative vibe. You don’t need it!
7. Maintain a Balanced Diet
Diet is just as important as the exercise in staying fit. Exercises and diet should complement each other for better results.
“Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration during exercise, maximize exercise performance, and improve recovery time.”The American College of Sports Medicine
The Cleveland Clinic recommends eating a balanced diet of healthy proteins, healthy fats, and small amounts of carbs, fruits, and veggies. A balanced diet plays a major role in your health and well-being. It gives you energy, allows you to keep up with your fitness routine, and helps fight off disease.
Besides hydrating with water, avoid saturated fats and even a lot of healthy protein. The reason is these types of food digest slower in your stomach and takes away oxygen and energy. Instead, consume easily digested carbohydrates two hours before you exercise, so you don’t feel sluggish.
Fueling your body properly and drinking plenty of water is essential. Staying hydrated is equally important as eating a healthy diet.
According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink 3.7 litres a day and women 2.7 litres a day, to replenish lost fluids. If you have a high-intensity workout, you may need even more.
The fact is, keeping the body hydrated helps the heart to pump blood more easily through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. On the contrary, dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heatstroke.
For most people, water is the ideal drink to stay hydrated. Sources of water also include foods, such as fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water like the watermelon, orange, grapes, etc. Sports drinks with electrolytes may be essential for people doing high intensity, vigorous exercise in humid weather, though they are high in added sugars and calories.
9. Get Inspired, but Don’t Aspire
Fitness influencers may inspire you and be following them on social media. You secretly desire to be like them. But if they don’t inspire you—or, worse, make you feel bad — it is best to unfollow them.
One mistake people make in their attempts to get fit is focusing on other people’s fitness regimen more than their own. Instead of sulking and aspiring, keep working toward your own fitness goals. Don’t visualize someone else as your driving force—try to envision a better version of yourself. That’s the only thing you should strive toward!
Everyone has a unique body even if the BMI and other vital stats are the same. Your body’s systems and the chemical reactions would never be the same as others. So, blindly aping the lifestyle of your favourite rockstar is like shadow boxing to win a fight.
10. Check your Hormonal Levels
As you age, especially after the 40s, it is necessary to get some tests done by your physician. It is to ensure you remain as healthy as possible throughout the years to come.
“You should at least know your testosterone, fasting insulin, and cortisol (levels),” says Dr. Neil Paulvin, an integrated medicine physician in New York City. “Testosterone helps build muscle, develop bone, and also helps with brain function. If your insulin is high, it would be tougher to lose weight, and may even have problems gaining muscle. And problems with cortisol can affect sleep.”
Once you get your hormone levels checked, you will have a clearer picture of your goals to achieve and can plan appropriately. Your health and wellbeing will benefit you on multiple levels.
11. Don’t be Sleep Deprived
Never cut yourself short the daily sleep quota of 6 to 8 hours. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “getting enough sleep each night is crucial in protecting your mental health, physical health, and overall quality of life—especially in your 40s and beyond.”
If you don’t get enough sleep, it could even increase your risk factors of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke; make you feel hungry when you’re not and cause your energy levels to drop sharply.
12. Don’t Forget your Treat!
If you’ve been keeping up with your workout schedule, why not give yourself a reward for that dedication? For every, say, week you don’t skip a workout—or whatever schedule works for you—treat yourself to something you love, whether that’s a trip to the spa or even indulge in a restricted food category. Ah!
Self-discipline matters. So, treat yourself to please yourself, but be in your limits.
It is perfectly alright to break the rules once in a while. When you have something to look forward to, you’ll be excited to push yourself toward that goal every day.
It is a misconception that you should be senile when you get older. So, as you age, you assume that it is normal to feel tired and lazy. And to exert for physical fitness would make you weaker. Nope, that’s absolutely wrong.
You may not get as fit as when you were younger. But hey, you can be active and minimize the risk of becoming sick or immobile with these super tips; unless you are terminally ill.