Getting in Shape After Age 55

Apr 7, 2023

There is so much to be excited about when getting older, but there are some harsh realities that come with it. Trying to get into shape at any age is difficult, but can be even harder as you age. It may leave you wondering, is this even possible? Yes it is. It is never too late to start getting in shape. It might not be as easy as when you were in your 20’s, but the reward of it will be huge.

Your body is likely not responding to exercise the way that it did when you were younger. What used to work amazing, probably is not getting you the same result. There may need to be some changes made in your lifestyle in order to get back in shape. You may see that you have more fatigue, muscle and joint pains, and you may be more prone to injuries.

Physical Changes That Happen In Your 50s

There’s a few physical changes that really start to accelerate once you hit your 50s that you must adjust your fitness routine to. One being that your recovery time between workouts will take more time, and you will need to spend a greater amount of time on that recovery. Your bone density and muscle begin to drop much faster than they had before.

In your 50s you will become a lot less flexible because the collagen production in the tendons that connects your muscles to your bones begins to decrease. Those long walks or slow bike rides you have always loved may feel really good on your body, but they might not keep off fat the way they used to.

Do not be discouraged as you get older about getting in shape because it is very possible. You may need to create some new habits to enhance your health and boost your age allowing you to stay active. With these 6 tips below it can help guide you to achieving your goals and making the most out of your exercise and energy.

1. Stretching

Stretching may have been an option when you were younger, but as you age it is must more important to keep it a priority. As you age your joints become stiffer and a lot less flexible. The amount of lubricating fluid that is in your joints is decreasing causing cartilage to become thinner. Ligaments lose flexibility because they tend to shorten causing your joints to feel stiff.

It is ideal to stretch for at a minimum of 10 minutes per day, particularly the muscles that you just worked out. If you are not going to stretch immediately prior to your workout, consider taking 10 minutes in the morning before starting your day, or in the evening to stretch out your body. It may be a good idea to consider incorporating a full-body stretch for all muscle groups once or twice a week.

Consider taking a yoga class or doing it from home on YouTube. Yoga has a ton of benefits for everyone of all ages, but especially over 50. The benefits will outweigh the nerves of you beginning yoga. It can help lower blood pressure and aid in keeping your weigh under control. Yoga also helps to keep your mind sharp because as we get older, cognitive functions lower. It will help build balance and strengthen bones to prevent injuries. Making stretching a priority is a key component to getting in shape.

2. Strength Training

Resistance and strength training become a critical part of exercising over 55. There is an evident link between metabolism and muscle mass. This means muscle burns a greater amount of calories at rest than fat does and you start to lose muscle much easier with age increasing. A few things to remember when beginning strength training are to watch your form, make sure you warm up and cool down, do not go too heavy too soon, and stay hydrated during your workout.

As you age, you may become more likely to have injuries or to fall and easily fracture something. Increasing your muscle and bone strength can help prevent this from happening. You have the option to do your body weight, adding some light weights, or heavier weights. But, you should try to do weights at least two to three times a week leaving room for recovery in between. Remember, consistency is key with anything you do, especially lifting weights. If you can only commit to lifting twice a week, stay consistent with those workouts and you will see results.

3. Stay Active All Day

Staying active during the day is critical to getting into shape as you age. A good baseline to follow is getting up to do some movement every hour or two. Adding in a morning walk each day is a great way to start the day and get your movement in. You can even take your coffee with you, just aim to walk for at least 30 minutes each day. Our bodies are meant to move, not to be sitting all day.

If you have an errand to run, think about parking a bit further away than you normally would. This is a great way to get some added steps in. Walking at a faster pace to get your heart rate up is a great idea, then return to your normal pace. Take the stairs if you have the opportunity. Getting outside more for a walk at any point of the day is going to be beneficial. While they may sound cliche, those extra movements in your daily life will begin to add up.

4. Find Activities You Enjoy 

While everyone may not love to work out, there are actually some fun ways to exercise. According to Muscle Clinic, we are much more likely to make a habit out of something that brings us pleasure instead of bringing us pain. This is known as Hedonic Motivation. This means that people are far more likely to stick to a form of exercise they actually enjoy spending time doing. For some people, following a workout program may be the easiest way to achieve their goals and give them peace of mind.

Going for a walk or jog every day in your neighborhood loop may get boring after a while. Look into local trails or hikes around your area that you could do instead. Tennis may be the perfect form of exercise that you have found love for. It gets your heart rate up and is a form of cardio. Similar to tennis, you could look into getting into a pickleball league. Maybe you enjoy swimming, which is luckily one of the best forms of exercise one can do. Are you someone who loves to dance? Look into joining a place that has Zumba classes. This is an interval workout that gets both your heart rate up as well as your cardiovascular endurance.

Whatever it may be that you enjoy doing, it is going to much more effective if you are not dreading it. Find that special something you love to do along with a person or group that will motivate you each day.

5. Be Aware of Your Diet 

Similar to how you are more likely to stick to exercising with you something that brings you joy, it is the same with your diet. There are many more fun recipes out there now that are healthy, but creative. Diets used to be very bland foods to meet one’s fitness goals. Find a plan that you enjoy.

As you age, you may be at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. In order to increase your overall well-being focusing on your diet is critical, especially one that is well balanced. Well balanced means a good portion of fruits and vegetables, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and dairy each day. Betsy’s Nutritional Consulting has countless meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and delicious snacks that will help you achieve getting back in shape.

6. Drinking Plenty of Water

Cutting back on sugary drinks is one of the best ways to aid in weight loss. Replace that soda with more water. A lot of people do not consume enough water in a day, when it is actually one of the most important things for your health. A general rule for how much water to drink in a day is half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh each day. This means if you weigh 180 pounds, this would be 90 to 180 ounces of water daily.

Getting in shape after 55 can be a bit nerve racking, but by following these tips you are sure to make improvements and see results, especially in the way your body feels. Betsy’s Nutritional Consulting has been around for years in Knoxville, Tennessee helping people follow their exercise and nutrition plan. Betsy has been involved with athletics her entire life and has a passion for helping others achieve their goals. Let Betsy help you get back in shape even after 55. Contact Betsy’s Nutritional Consulting today to get started.


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