Returning to fitness when you’ve been inactive for a while can be daunting. Check out these 4 obstacles to getting fit over 50 to help you on your way.
I was talking to a guy today after training together in a group, he was quite a bit younger than me at 27. He’d struggled throughout the session stopping several times, (that’s ok because if he keeps it up he’ll struggle less next time). He told me he was just starting back on the road to fitness.
He was amazed to find I was stronger and fitter than he was, not only was he amazed but he was also very impressed when he learned I had over 30 years on him. I’m 58 years old and still going strong.
His most poignant comment was about his father who was 55 and hadn’t exercised as long as he could remember. He was badly overweight and suffering from poor health.
His remark was ‘I wish my dad was like you, I fear for his health and whenever I suggest getting fit he always says it’s too hard and can’t be bothered!’.
Mindset is one of the major obstacles to getting fit over 50
One of the keys to getting fit over 50 – getting fit at any age for that matter – is the battle with your inside your head. Without the correct attitude improving your fitness and health it’s always going to be an uphill struggle. One that you’re nearly always going to lose.
The mind is an incredibly powerful tool and if it tells us something is too hard we usually believe it – but we don’t have to!
Looking at these 4 obstacles to getting fit over 50 you could be easily put-off, or you could say no problem, bring them on, they’re not going to stop me!
Taking those first steps back into fitness are often the most difficult. The first training session can wreck any dreams you have of recapturing golden years of younger fitness. And it can defeat you there and then if you let it!
It’s important to change your midset to where I am starting from now rather than what I used to be able to do. Think of the exercises you can do now, start realistically especially if you’re carrying a lot of weight or haven’t trained for some time.
Remembering what you could do is another major obstacle to getting fit over 50
Try to be realistic about where you are starting from now. In fact many guys returning to fitness remember what they used to do. Whether it was how fast you could run, how high you could jump or how much weight you could lift. The examples of youthful prowess are endless. Many of us men of a certain age we nearly always hark back to our glory days of old and think we can still do it.
All of the exercises I do can either be toned down to a more an basic level or progressed to greater difficulty. Check out these routines for getting fit over 50. The key is to start at the most basic level. Then build up slowly as your body adapts and grows stronger. There’s no point in trying to run 5km if you haven’t run in 10 years. Start with a steady walk of a minute and then run for 30 seconds and repeat a few times. Start slowly then build up your strength and also your aerobic capacity.
Doing it on your own is another major obstacle to getting fit over 50
Unfortunately we can’t, if you’ve been out of the game for a while. There’s many reasons for this such as, injury, lifestyle changes, lack of interest or even things like depression and low self esteem. The key to success on the road back to fitness can be hard and lonely.
Support and encouragement are crucial to staying on track and getting through the tough times. There’s many distractions to someone who wants to change their life for the better. The lure of friends and social times, the temptation of food and sweet treats. Or even working too hard and too late. The thing is, you’ve probably been enjoying your life, I’m a social guy and I love a couple of pints of lager. I love a cheese and pickle sandwich and my knees go weak at the sight of a chocolate eclair. But, I know I have to moderate what I eat and drink. I’ve said before you don’t have to live like a monk to get fit and healthy.
It’s easier with support.
With support and encouragement, a clear plan with goals to achieve and regular checks on your progress anything is possible! For me that support comes from my wife and training partner in the shape of thoughtful grocery shopping. She takes a genuine interest in my weight and bodyfat measurements. She motivates me to workout even when I don’t feel like it.
My training partner is a great motivator and a constant source of inspiration most of the time. The rest of the time it bounces back on me and I am his motivation and his source of inspiration. And that’s how it’s meant to work!
Time is another of the 4 obstacles to getting fit over 50
Busy lives leave little time for getting fit unless you have a plan to fit that time into your day. It doesn’t take much, you could do it in 30 minutes a day – honestly!
Adding in things like walking up a couple of flights of stairs is an obvious thing. Walking part way to or from work or any number of other activities, and that’s the key word here, activity.
You don’t have to allocate 2 hours every day to go to the gym. You can always head down to the tennis or golf club to be active and social at the same time.
Getting up early is usually how I do it, I like to workout and get energised for my day ahead. I’m not great at working out in the evening after a hard day – but that’s just me.
And finally, going back to the guy I met earlier today, I hope he keeps up his fitness journey. I’ll certainly encourage him when I see him next. I hope he manages to help inspire his father. It’ll be good for him to get out of the chair and take charge of his life and get healthier.
There’s a positive side effect of taking charge of and improving your health and fitness. It’s that you want to help and support others. Join the Facebook group Middle Aged Men’s Health and Fitness and let’s support each other in our journeys.