When we’re younger, many of us are lucky enough to have a fast metabolism and a busy lifestyle, which means that we can eat what we want, never go to the gym and maintain a healthy weight and a flat stomach.
Unfortunately, as we get older, a lot of us find that our metabolism slows. This often comes at around the same time as we stop going out as often, our kids get older and no longer want to play in the park with us, and our lives become more sedentary.
At the same time, we might be worried about getting older, and how it’s affecting our bodies. All of these elements mean that many people start to think about exercise for the first time in midlife. People that have never worked out suddenly want to start a fitness program. But just throwing yourself straight in can lead to injuries and frustration.
Here are some tips to help you safely build fitness in midlife:
Make Changes to Your Diet
As we start to get older, our nutritional needs change, and adding exercise to the mix can make things more difficult. You might find that your appetite fluctuates a lot as you increase activity, and you’ll need extra protein to boost your energy levels and build muscle.
However, as well as gaining fitness, you may want to lose some weight and manage any midlife weight gain, which is very common, without sacrificing your nutritional needs. If you are finding that you are gaining weight or struggling to lose weight even though you are exercising, you might want to consider Shake That Weight meal replacement shakes. These are shakes that support your weight loss goals and boost your energy levels. Shakes could also be used as a supplement alongside meals, instead of overeating after a workout.
Try Eating Little and Often
As we get older and our metabolism changes, we can start to find it harder to digest meals and may feel very sluggish after we’ve eaten a lot. This can make it hard to manage energy levels and can mean that you gain weight, even if you are eating well and exercising. You might find that your digestion improves if you eat five or six small meals a day, instead of three larger meals.
Leave the Car at Home
Walking is one of the best ways to lose weight and gain fitness gradually and safely. Start leaving your car at home and walking any distance that takes less than 30 minutes. If you work too far away to walk, start parking a little further away.
Same with going to the mall or grocery shopping. Instead of trying to get the closest parking spot possible to the store, park in the furthest spot. It may seem like you aren’t doing very much but trust me it adds up. Especially on a day where you may go to two or three different stores!
Set Realistic Goals
If you are starting to exercise for the first time, you aren’t going to be able to run a marathon or lift heavy weights straight away, and you shouldn’t try. Instead, set yourself small, realistic goals, like being able to walk for 30 minutes without resting, or exercising three times a week and build up very slowly to avoid injury.
Take it slow, real slow. I know you have lofty goals and want to be able to do a lot or at least what you were able to do when you were younger. However, if you overdue it and your back or knees start to hurt or you get something as small as a blister, it could set you back and you don’t want that. Baby steps are best when starting out.
Visit Your Doctor
If you have any trouble with your joints, you are very overweight or think of yourself as very unhealthy or unfit, then you should speak to your doctor before starting to exercise. They’ll tell you what you can do safely and give you some ideas and tips. You may even have some underlying issue that you did not know about that will hinder your progress that needs to be dealt with first.
Don’t Forget Strength Training
Cardio fitness is important, it will help you to improve your cardiovascular health and build stamina. But strength training is also important. Building strength will help your body stay strong in later life. Start with bodyweight exercises, instead of using weights, to stay safe.
Yoga is a fantastic way to build strength gradually. It will also boost flexibility and circulation, which can decline in midlife. Try practising a little every day, adjusting any poses that you find difficult. You will be surprised how much increased flexibility will better your day to day life.
Build Up Slowly
Whatever exercises you choose to do, don’t rush. Build up very slowly, listening to your body, resting when you need to, and even stopping if things don’t feel right. It may take a long time before you start to see and feel results but try to go easy on yourself.
Wear the Right Kit
Whenever we exercise, we need the right support to protect our bodies. You might need a good sports bra, supportive shoes, and compression socks or tights if you have any problems with circulation or varicose veins. And proper shoes with arches are especially important. A specialty store should be able to guide you to which shoes you need for the exercise you intend to do.
Enjoy Rest Days
Doing too much puts your body under too much pressure, which can cause fatigue, injury, and frustration. Make sure you have at least a day off between workouts, perhaps just going for a walk or gentle swim to avoid stiffness.
Getting fit, and staying fit, in later life can be tough. But it’s worth it. Improving your strength and fitness can help you to live a longer and healthier life, and protect you from a wide range of health conditions.