Exercises for Women Over 50

There are many exercises for women over 50, but success is based on the ease of integration into your lifestyle and the social benefit. Almost all health and diet programs will involve some exercise. But, you have to get something positive out of the experience or you won’t have the determination to continue. This is why most new years resolutions to exercise are short lived.

When I taught the psychology of eating in the weight reduction program, we would always pair people to exercise. Pairing was the social support needed to establish and maintain an exercise routine. They would encourage and prompt each other to keep the motivation going as they eventually became exercise buddies.

According to WebMD(1), “Exercise is so potent that it influences every physiological system in the body for the better. They don’t provide the long list of all the benefits, but mention, “The first benefit of exercise for women is reduction of the symptoms of menopause”. This includes hot flashes, joint pain and poor sleep, which can all be improved.

WebMD recommends the following after your doctor clears you to exercise:

AEROBIC EXERCISE: Aerobic means requiring oxygen from continual movement for at least 20 minutes that can be walking, cycling, aerobic classes, running, dancing, swimming, and cross country skiing. Your heart rate should stay elevated and you should try to break a sweat.

ANAEROBIC EXERCISE: This refers to strength training from calisthenics and/or lifting weights. We naturally lose muscular strength as we age. This helps “maintain bone strength, reduces risk of lower back injury and keeps you tone.”  They don’t discuss a specific weight program, probably because each person should have a individualized routine.

STRETCHING: This helps your flexibility and joint movement. It can help reduce injury and soreness. Yoga and Pilates are suggested forms.

IF YOU ARE NOT EXERCISE ORIENTED:  In my experience, the best exercise for ease and maintainability is simply to walk or bicycle. With walking, 1. You don’t feel like you’re exercising since it’s already a routine activity. 2. You really don’t need any special or expensive equipment. 3. Including people will bring social enjoyment.  4. But, it can be done alone or in a group. 5. You don’t need to drive anywhere to walk. 6. You simply measure your workout with a watch or step counter. 7. You will want to walk at least 150 minutes a week or 5 walks at 30 minutes each. 8. You can add hand weights to increase your heart rate. 9. The ease of walking allows you to continue into advanced age.  10. You’re allowed to dress and act silly. Forming a walking or cycling group in your neighborhood is one of the most successful arrangements for sustainability and enjoyment. So, lets be creative and have fun today.    L. J. www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

1)WebMD, “Get Fit Advice for Women Over 50”, 4-17-2015. Retrieved on 5-12-2015 from: http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/women-over-50-fitness-tips

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