Fitness At Fifty
As many of us reach the half century mark in our lives, we find ourselves reflecting back on how far we have come, what we have accomplished, where we have been, and any regrets we may have. One of the things that I do not regret which ranks up there next to my children, is keeping some level of fitness in my life.
Some may get to the mid point in their years, look in a full length mirror and feel unhappy about themselves. Not having that youthful fit looking body can be a real bummer. It is difficult to maintain a physique of a twenty something through out the remainder of your life. We get jobs, get married, raise families and our body becomes the lower priority and we start to gain weight as our activity level drops and our diet gets out of hand as we eat and drink too much of things we shouldn’t be drinking too much of. If you know what I mean 😉
Many feel it is too late to get fit as they reach a mid-point in their life. However, this is not the case. As long as you do not have any major health limitations, which can be determined by asking a doctor, you can pick up your fitness game at any time. I was a long distance runner in my younger years, and very active at other things such as biking and hiking. After my marriage, my activity level dropped and did these things less and less and eventually not at all. At one point I was a good 35 pounds over my typical weight. I saw a photo of myself, noticed how much chubbier my face was compared to my younger years, and it was then that I took notice of my large gut, love handles, etc. I decided it was time to get back in the game. As my kids got older and more active, my activity level increased along with them, going on bike outings, hikes, etc. I even got back into running and my daughter joined me on some short distance runs. Wanting to accelerate the process, I got into doing some at home fitness programs, changed my eating habits to a healthier lifestyle, and was in the best shape of my life. I actually got to the point where I could go out and run over ten miles which is further than I had ever ran in high school and was even wearing the same size jeans I wore in high school again and I was in my mid-forties!
I have since then gained a bit more weight on several occasions because of poor eating and taking a break from exercise, which I firmly believe in. However, I can always get my weight back down by controlling the eating through calorie tracking and picking up the fitness level. And you do not have to spend hours a day working out and starving yourself to accomplish this. My fitness level goes in waves throughout a year, being more active in the late winter and fall to avoid the extreme heat and bitter cold. It is sort of like floating on waves in the ocean.
When I am at a fitness peak, I don’t necessarily spend a lot of
time working out. I have developed my own fitness program which I spend at most fifteen to twenty minutes in the morning doing strength training coupled with some sort of cardio in the evening or going for a short run, power walk, Kempo, bike rides, etc. and the right kind of eating. It is essential to mix these activities up. I plan on sharing this program on this blog soon once I get it into a more user friendly format so stay tuned!
Low impact running is not impossible when you reach an older age. You just have to give your body more time to recover. It is essential to mix it up with other activities to give your body a break.
In a couple of weeks, I will be turning fifty. The other day I was getting dressed and my full length mirror happened to be turned in such a way that as I walked past, I caught my reflection and was actually happy with what I saw. Even though I am at a trough in my fitness wave right now and just starting into riding up on a wave, I don’t have the ripped abs and bulging muscles as some crave and is a look that I never really aim for and have never actually looked that way, I thought to myself “I could look a lot worse”. Knowing that if I had not followed by fitness journey over the years, I would look quite a bit different. Over the most recent years I have accomplished things that I never would have dreamed of in my thirties such as power walking 30 miles in Relay for Life, surpassing the 10 mile mark on a daily run (several times), setting a personal hiking record by hiking the full length of a mountain in one day which was 22 miles with my good friend who is also a bit of fitness nut. These are things that I am proud of and will never forget to the day I die and I owe it all to staying fit.
So never give up on yourself and if you are young, start now and it will be much easier to maintain that youthful body into your older years. And never knock any other person who doesn’t look like they used to because if you don’t take my advice, you are going to be that person someday 🙂
Best of Luck on Your Fitness Journey!