Hello Again Lovely Lady
So, here’s the burning question…how diligent are you about exercise?. Probably the same as the rest of us. We all know we should do it regularly and we all know why…but it’s not always easy is it?
So in this post, I’m going to suggest 30 Step By Step Ways To Stay Active In Midlife. Some low impact and some higher level. There are some really great ways to get that extra movement you need for both your physical AND emotional wellbeing. No excuses now!
(30 seems a lot, but this is an ‘easy read’ and includes 16 video tutorials to help you master some of the options)
Why Staying Active In Midlife Is Important
Making the choice to get your body moving is an act of self-love and self-care. So rather than see it as a chore, see it as putting yourself first. Carve out the time you need to take this extra care of yourself…it’s really important!
It’s a little daunting that there are so many other things in life that need taking care of…and as if watching our weight isn’t enough, dealing with menopause and now, worrying about Covid-effing 19!
Also, here’s the thing…
We want to live healthily for many more years so we really can’t ignore this…AND, there are some really amazing benefits that we can gain from it, especially now we’re older, like…
- Improving bone health which helps to prevent or limit Osteoporosis
- Staying flexible helps to prevent falls
- Lower blood pressure – good for heart health
- Improving brain to body coordination
- Keeping our joints and muscles in good condition
- Feeling mentally invigorated
- Helping to alleviate depression and anxiety
- Keeps the dog happy!…(just thought I’d throw that one in there)
- AND…help you lose some pounds.
Not to mention the serious stuff like lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, breast and colon cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.
And…just to make it a little harder for you to come up with excuses, I’ve collated some great videos to help you decide what might take your fancy…and what may be best for your level of fitness.
Before We Start – Please Note:
My blog is for 50+ women.
I don’t know what your age bracket is. You may be over that age and super fit. Or you may be less fit and dealing with some health issues.
As a result, you may need to be more careful about your exercise choices and intensity…and that’s perfectly fine. In that case, I recommend that you check with your physician before starting any exercise routine…just to be on the safe side.
So…are you ready?… got your trainers on?…let’s go!
Why It’s Often Hard To Get Motivated
Part of the issue with not exercising is the idea that it requires a lot of effort, and as we get older the effort seems even harder. Also, we are time-stretched as adults…trying to juggle so many things at once.
Obviously, if you already suffer from some injuries or conditions that may make it more difficult.
However, if the word ‘exercise’ conjures up images of a nimble Jane Fonda or Olivia Newton-John in lycra leotard and leg warmers..don’t panic! We don’t need to do anything super strenuous (unless you want to) to reap the benefits.
And…to be honest, I think those super skinny ideals are totally unrealistic for 90% of the population.
In fact, I think we should dump the word ‘exercise’ and instead, use the word ‘movement’. It’s about progress, not perfection. Any activity that gets you moving is better than none.
Even the ‘WHO’ (World Health Organization) considers that any form of movement counts.
I couldn’t get Jane or Olivia but this should bring back those 70’s memories!
BTW…I doubt anyone younger than us will even remember those cringe-worthy video clips
What’s required is regular movement, even walking around the house or mowing the lawn. A little more effort than that would be better…but every bit helps.
Let’s Talk About Something More Deliberate
By that I mean, if you’re up for a little more effort than just hanging around the garden mowing or weeding. Try these…
- Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong
- Walking or running the dog
- Getting out into the park or woods and walking the trail at a steady pace
- Aqua-aerobics – the water supports your body weight, so less stress on joints & bones.
- Gym workout to strengthen your muscles but doesn’t have to be too strenuous.
- Boxing – most gyms have a boxing setup these days as it’s really popular. (Actually, I love this one. It’s not just brilliant for keeping fit, but it works out your life’s frustrations at the same time…what’s not to love!)
Prolonged Isolation Due To Covid-19
Something that is really worrying for various health authorities around the world, is the impact on mental health, self-esteem, stress, anxiety, and lack of exercise as a result of prolonged isolation and lockdown.
They are considering it to be almost as serious in the longterm as the virus itself. This is mainly due to the fact that it will linger and continue to be a problem for many people long after we get Covid-19 under control.
The Mental Anguish Associated With Isolation & Fear
This is linked to economic loss, loneliness, fear and sadly, for far too many people, the physical loss of a family member or friend. It will have long-lasting effects.
As a species, we probably haven’t experienced anything quite so mentally debilitating as this pandemic and it’s consequences…certainly not since WW2, and even that didn’t affect every nation on earth like this has.
So, on top of these issues, extended periods of inactivity mean you can experience some muscle and skeletal tissue atrophy which can lead to problems as we age.
Also, you will usually sleep better following exercise. Bad sleep has become yet another side-effect of the virus.
Particularly with people in lock-down and/or quarantine situations, but also the associated stress we’re all feeling by dealing with something so insidious as this virus.
However, despite the fact that these current circumstances feel insurmountable, and it’s so easy to say that there’s too much else to worry about in your life, you really MUST take care of your health. Now more than ever.
Staying Active Enhances Your Physical & Mental Health
Obviously, the need for social distancing is a huge issue when it comes to using a gym, aqua-aerobics, or any other group-related exercise activity. But, there are a lot of other activities you can do to help keep your fitness level from plummeting and it’s really important that you try.
Beyond the obvious of minimizing your chances of catching Covid-19, the more you maintain or improve your immune system and your overall physical and mental health level, the better off you will be, now and in the future.
Moderate exercise (note that it doesn’t have to be strenuous) has been proven to not only assist in preventing the above diseases and ailments but also enhances the immune system and really helps to lift your mood due to the release of the ‘feel good’ hormones.
The ‘Poster Child’ Hormones For Wellbeing.
Anything that activates these hormones is brilliant for your mental and physical health, and movement certainly does. Learn about them, it’s really interesting.
Serotonin is called the ‘Happiness Hormone’ contributing to well-being, mood and emotions.
Dopamine is the ‘Feel-Good’ Hormone and
Oxytocin is the ‘Cuddle/love Hormone’
All three of these hormone levels are increased by exercise, eating nutritionally balanced meals, and interacting with loved ones, including pets.
Staying Active During The Pandemic
Like all of us, I really wish we could wave a magic wand and make the whole wretched thing just vanish. But in the absence of Harry Potter’s wand, let’s look at what we can do.
Depending on the country you’re in and the level of freedom you can have, these activities will have enormous benefits and you don’t need to overdo it.
So…here are 14 lower impact ways to get yourself moving.
Followed by 16 higher impact options for those of us who are: younger, fitter, dedicated, focussed, obsessive, and in some cases, crazier…depending on how you look at it! Haha.
14 Lower Impact Activity Options – (video section below)
1. Cycling. Dig out the bike and take it around the block a few times. Or use a stationary one if it’s available. Getting out in the fresh air is always best though.
2. Elliptical trainers or treadmills. Yes…the one in your room you haven’t touched for well, at least since you bought it!… I know, you can’t fool me, I’ve been there!
3. Dance. Get your ‘groove on to your fave music at home. Unlike in the past, where if anyone saw you dancing around the house they may get you one of those nice fitted white jackets!…but not anymore.
You can even do your dance in the street whilst putting out the garbage…you’ll probably get a round of applause from the neighbors.
4. Jogging. At a moderate pace, either in the park if you’re allowed, or just on the spot in your garden or yard.
5. Low impact aerobics/cardio. Once again…maybe in the park or watch a YouTube video in your lounge room.
6. Yoga/Pilates. These are both wonderful for elongating your muscles, stretching, keeping limber, and will help you lose some pounds if you need to. Take it slowly…let your muscles get used to being stretched.
7. Swimming. Plus aqua-aerobics if you are permitted to use a pool.
8. Walking with or without a dog. Having a dog is hugely motivating as they usually pester the life out of you until you take them! But even without a dog, a nice brisk walk in the park or in the countryside is wonderful…and quite uplifting, especially if you love being in nature.
9. Jump roping. Absolutely excellent for fitness, and suitable for any age. It’s particularly good for mid-lifers like us due to its benefits. (See the video in the below video section for more info).
10. Step-up box. Stepping up any type of stairs…(up 3 down 3, up 3 down 3) keep going, it certainly gets your heart pumping. Or try to get a Step-up box and follow along with the video.
11. Boxing. This is brilliant if you can get to a gym and they have a boxing facility. Not only is it fantastic for upping your fitness level, but it also helps you work out life’s frustration…plenty of that around currently!
Even with a good ‘positive mindset’, I still find this hugely satisfying. “What!… spending my time punching a leather bag” Hey, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! Serotonin here we come!
12. Golf. If you can play a ’round’ with another person…even with social distancing this should be acceptable. A golf course is a big place…and if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend most of the time on your own anyway, rummaging around in the trees and bushes looking for the ball!
By the way, walking – no buggy OK!…using a buggy is cheating y’all!
13. Tennis. Even with Social Distancing, this is a great option. After all, you and your playing partner are at opposite ends of the court. Personally, I can’t play tennis to save my life, but just hitting the ball around is fun, social, and gets your heart rate up.
14. Tai Chi. This wonderful, ancient form of martial art emphasizes breathing and relaxation with fluid repetitive movements. Although it feels peaceful it requires concentration to move slowly, and follow a series of carefully choreographed routines.
This helps quiet your mind, relax, and focus your thoughts….wonderful!
(Qigong is the original Chinese exercise and breathing control. It’s 4000 years old and Tai Chi is derived from it. They are both slightly different but amazing for fitness, breathing control, and calming the mind. Doing either will be so beneficial)
No Lockdown? Try Higher Activity Level
Ok…that’s a whole other ballgame (pardon the pun!). So now, you can get into some more serious adventurous stuff.
BTW, if you can cycle, run and swim, why not train yourself for a marathon or triathlon, or run for a ’cause’. I know quite a few women who have done this after the age of 50.
You will have my TOTAL admiration…and probably everyone else’s!
Because, at our age, the chances are we have ‘empty nests’. Kids have gone to live their own lives and now we have the time…just a thought. So here goes…
16 Higher Impact Activity Options
- Rock climbing (outdoor) Bouldering (indoor)
- Kayaking (my favorite)
- Scuba Diving
- Ocean swimming
- Jet skiing
- Cardio-kickboxing…yes it’s a ‘thing’ and it’s high impact. Expect to sweat!
- Baseball (ladies team obviously – don’t play with the men) “why not?” I hear you ask!
- Volleyball – ‘beach’ where possible. Running on sand uses so much energy.
- Weight training – increases your heart-rate, but more for toning up than aerobic.
- Kettlebell workout (brilliant)
- Running on the beach at the water’s edge. It feels great and uses so much energy.
(Please follow any instructions by the presenters. The point is to get fit not injured…so pace yourself)
Walking Workout – Here’s a great low impact walking video by Leslie Sansone (One Mile Walk) For those times when you can’t go outside, you can do it in your lounge room. It’s one I do regularly and trust me…it gets you fit!
Tai Chi – These wonderful slow, deliberate movements are designed to calm your mind, relax, and focus on the flow from one set of movements to another. It really helps you maintain your balance and coordination too. Training by Jake Mace from JakeMace.com 10 Tai Chi Moves For Beginners
Jump Roping Benefits – This is a super high calorie-burning exercise. Even if you can only do 10 minutes a day the benefits are huge. It improves your bone density and develops agility and brain to body coordination. This is excellent as we age. But there’s a trick to doing it correctly. Watch this quick tutorial by Amanda Kloots being featured on Well and Good
Step-Up Workout Beginner – 20 Minute Steps Routine For Beginners with Marischa from FitnessType. You can use anything ‘stable’ as a step-up but it would be better if you bought one from Amazon or any fitness supply store. The isn’t a limit to the intensity so you will get plenty of use out of it as your fitness increases. The next video is for intermediate fitness…You Go Girl!
Step-Up Workout Intermediate – Great workout with Marsha Hughs from ShortCircuits. This is for when you have a higher fitness level…but remember to take it at your own pace. Step HIIT Cardio & Strength
Cardio Workout – Here’s a great low impact (30-minute cardio workout) and you don’t need any equipment. This is by Kelli from FitnessBlender.com This is a great husband and wife team that have a fabulous channel. All their workouts are free and there’s something for everyone.
Boxing – very good beginners workout for women by Get Fit With Gosia This uses a (Free-standing punching bag workout for beginners). No need to go to a gym if you have this…but the same can be done at the gym if they have a boxing set-up of course.
Dancing – Think you can’t dance?… watch this. Fantastic beginner dance moves tutorial. Dance Moves For Dummies Great fun and also a brilliant workout.
Dancing To Get Your Groove On – More advanced dance moves. Fabulous video to get you inspired and moving. 30 Minute Aerobic Dance Workout with Bipasha Basu featured on Shemaroo Good Health.
Kettlebell Workout – With Natalie from GymRa. 20 Min Kettlebell Workout for Women. This is my personal go-to kettlebell workout. (Nice location too!) Not too strenuous but gets you fit!
Cardio Kick-Boxing – with Eliza Shirazi from Kick It By Eliza. No equipment needed. Eliza has variations available depending on your fitness…but as always, take it at your own pace. 30 Minute Cardio Kickboxing Workout
Paddle-boarding – This a lot of fun but getting up on it and staying on it is a challenge. Here’s how to do it, plus some great safety tips. Here’s a video from Blueplanetsurf Learn To SUP in 5 Minutes
Sailboarding/Windsurfing – Not easy but plenty of fun and exercise if you can master it. Plenty of social distancing here! Here’s a good tutorial Intro To Windsurfing by BigWinds
Kayaking – Great tutorial with some equipment and safety tips together with which equipment to choose. Beginners Guide To Kayaking by West Marine. This is a great water sport that you can find anywhere in the world (with water of course) and suits just about any age group…Enjoy!
Bouldering & Rock Climbing – Different difficulty levels all explained in this great video by BLUFF. Intro To Rock Climbing For Beginners. Not for the faint-hearted…good luck!
I hope you’ve found something in this post that has inspired you in these difficult times. I would love to hear about what ‘movement’ choice you have made.
Please drop me a line in the comments…I’d love to hear from you.