Do’s and Don’ts of Exercise

elderly woman exercisingLadies, remember when you were active in your 20’s and could eat that extra large piece of birthday cake without gaining weight? As you hit the 40’s and 50’s, you may not be as active, your metabolism slows down, and the pounds can add up. Regular exercise can keep your metabolism burning efficiently, but high-impact exercises that involve running, step aerobics, or cardio dancing can result in injuries to the hip, knee, and ankle joints, as well as the spine.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of exercise for midlife women:

Stretch First

You need to get your muscles loosened up, so stretching first is essential. Walk for 5 minutes on a treadmill or do some gentle yoga or Pilate stretches.

Start Slowly

If you haven’t been exercising regularly, the key is to start out slowly. Do things you enjoy such as water aerobics, gardening, walking, cycling or swimming. If you prefer exercising in a group setting, check your local gym for fitness classes. Your goal is to get your heart pumping, but not run out of breath. Once you are in the routine of exercising regularly, you can add weight or resistance training using weight machines or resistance bands.

Warning Signs

You should know your body signs and stop exercising immediately if you experience pain or are having trouble breathing. If you have osteoporosis, avoid balance exercises that might lead to a fall, and toe touches and sit-ups that put too much pressure on the spine.

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

elderly woman exercisingI read a very timely article by the Mayo Clinic that outlines the benefits of strength training. You don’t have to hit the gym for strength training, as exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, leg and abdominal squats can be done in the comfort of your own home. Resistance tubing can be purchased at sporting good stores and provides resistance when stretched.

If you prefer to work out in the gym, you have access to free weights such as barbells and dumbbells, or you can take advantage of the weight machines.

Stressing bones through strength training increases bone density and reduces your risk of osteoporosis. As you build strength your energy will increase, and better muscle tone helps balance in later years when falls are common.

More benefits of strength training for women include reducing pain for chronic conditions such as arthritis and back pain, and improving symptoms of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

As always, practice safety first and check with your doctor before beginning any type of strength training program.

Don’t Be a Weekend Warrior

elderly woman exercisingI have always liked to walk, but when Mark and I joined a gym, I decided to ramp up the intensity of my workouts. The gym had four racquetball courts and it was fun to watch the players serve back and forth. We decided to give it a try. We staked out a court and the game began. I thought I was doing very well for being in my 50’s, and I was making all kinds of leaps and turns as I returned the serve.

All was well until the next morning when my knee was absolutely killing me. A trip to the orthopedist was a necessity and my test results showed that I had strained my anterior cruciate ligament(ACL). I probably should have listened to my mother’s sage words of advice: “You’re too old to be playing racquetball.”

Don’t be a weekend warrior. When we hit the late 40’s and beyond, our focus should be on low impact exercise. Check out these 9 low impact exercises from the Huffington Post. Don’t be afraid to try out more than one for variety. The more you enjoy exercising, the longer you will stick with it and experience the benefits.

Always practice safety first. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. This is particularly important if you have diabetes, or heart disease.

Sneaky Ways to Exercise More

??????????????????????????????????????Ladies, as we get older, we need to increase our exercise just to maintain a healthy weight. Since most of us lead busy lives with work, taking care of children, and managing a home, it’s not always easy to find time to hit the gym. It’s time to get creative. By following these sneaky ways to exercise more, you’ll look and feel your best.

Start Early

Once you’re out of bed, lace up your walking shoes. While the family is getting ready to face the day, start walking up and down the hall. If the children wake up, have them walk with you. What kid doesn’t need to burn off some nervous energy?

Use Every Venue

Trips to the grocery store, mall, or doctor’s office all provide sneaky ways to exercise more. Go down each aisle at the grocery store, even if what you’re buying is at the checkout counter. Park further away from the door to get even more steps.

Walking around the mall with a friend lets you browse in all the shops, while getting in your daily quotient of exercise. It’s also a fun way to get in some people watching.

Most doctor’s offices have a good sized parking lot. Arrive a little early, and take a few laps around the parking lot. If the office is not on the first floor, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

As you follow these sneaky ways to exercise more, you’ll not only look and feel better, but you’ll still have time to do the things that you enjoy.

Exercise and Fitness After 50

As we age, it becomes more of a temptation to slow down and taken it easy. Most of us lead very busy lives with work and family obligations, and exercise is just one more thing we have to make room for in an already overcrowded schedule. Joining a gym can be expensive, not to mention the embarrassment of having to parade around in skimpy workout clothes. Never fear, I have some workout tips that will make exercise and fitness after 50 not only enjoyable, but also pleasing to a pinched pocketbook.

I read an interesting article that suggested combining a favorite activity with exercise. For example, listen to your favorite music while lifting weights. Hit the mall and window shop while you’re doing laps. Pull out your camera and take some photographs on a nature hike. Do you like to exercise in a group? Join a yoga class. You’ll be exercising your body while meeting some new people.

Just to be on the safe side, consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise program, especially if you have pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.

There is no reason exercise and fitness after 50 has to be boring. By combining exercise with activities that you enjoy, you’ll look forward to your workouts and be improving your health at the same time.