by Diane Percy, Personal Trainer, Cert IV Fitness leader, Heartmoves Instructor

Older adults enjoying a fitness class

It’s never too late to start exercising!

I’m over 50 and I’ve taught fitness classes like Pilates and yoga for the past 25 years. During that time I’ve met lots of older adults who’ve taken control of their health and wellness by being more active every day.

Over the past six years I’ve started teaching Heartmoves classes to clients up to the age of 93 years. Personally speaking, these inspiring people have demonstrated to me what my future could be.  I can see how important it is to take care of our bodies so we can be healthy at any age and most importantly, enjoy life.

Here are some of the benefits you can experience from being physically active for at least 30 minutes every day no matter what your age:

  • More energy to keep up with your busy life
  • Improved strength, flexibility and better posture which reduces your risk of falling
  • Improved self-esteem through feeling healthier and looking great
  • Reduced risk of developing diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • Fun!

When you’re getting back into exercise it’s beneficial to find an exercise routine that suits you. I remember the days when the gyms were full of young, high impact aerobics classes. They were fun but I found that as I aged, I needed to adapt the exercise I was doing.

If you’re over 50 and want to improve your health by being more active it’s important to get the right health advice. Talk to your GP about starting to exercise. Find out if there’s anything you need to watch out for or any health checks you should have before starting.

Once you’ve got the all clear from your doctor try the following tips for getting active after 50.

Be kind to your body
Try to ease into your new routine. If it has been a while since you last exercised, your body needs increase activity levels progressively to avoid any risk of injury that might stop you from exercising.

Do something you enjoy
Choose an activity that you’ve done before and you’ve been good at or loved doing, or choose something you’ve always wanted to try.

Get strong
Activities that strengthen your muscles and challenge your balance such as Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are very beneficial to our bodies as we age. They’re also a great way to reduce stress and practice the art of mindfulness.

Small steps
Try including more activity in your day in small ways. Taking the stairs, gardening or just walking to the shops will all count towards your daily physical activity – and it can all make a positive impact on your health.

Walk
Walking every day, either with a friend, your dog, or with a local walking group like a Heart Foundation Walking group is a great way to increase the amount of activity you do.  It also helps to keep you connected with your community and the environment.

Track your progress
Keep a diary or use the LiveLighter meal and activity planner to monitor your your physical activity. It’s very motivating to see how much you’ve improved.

It’s never too late to be more active and improve your health. What could you do today to get more physical activity in your life?