At Shepherds Friendly, we’re firm believers that you’re not over the hill once you reach the dreaded five-oh. In fact, we believe that with more time on your hands as children grow, it’s a perfect time to take oft-neglected fitness in hand. There are good reasons for doing so.
Why Fitness After 50 Matters
Of course we are all used to the argument that ensuring your fitness is essential to your health. However, when you’re on the young side of 50 you can simply ‘get away with more’ gambles. Once that magical marker is behind you then it’s time to take a more proactive approach.
Good levels of fitness can help to prevent all manner of health nasties, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and can even reduce your risk of falls, depression, dementia, and joint and back pain 
However, it’s not just about what you can avoid in the health department. Increased fitness helps you feel better, cope with life’s stresses and strains more efficiently, improves sleep, and fundamentally gives you a better quality of life.
And if that’s not incentive enough, then one study has shown that individuals with a higher muscle mass live longer.
How to Get Fit After 50
Of course, getting fit after 50 has a few added challenges. You may still have difficult demands on your time due to work and family commitments. Additionally, you may already be experiencing the sore joints and niggles and aches that life has brought about. Therefore, knowing how and where to start can be tricky.
Importantly, if you are new to an organised approach to fitness then you should remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you try to do too much too soon, that is when injuries occur, and hopes get dashed. Instead, start slowly and build up. It’s also recommended that, if you have previous medical conditions, then you consult your GP for personal advice before starting to exercise regularly.
The easiest way to start a new fitness regime when you’re over 50 is by taking up walking. Good for the mind and a great way to relax, as well as being free, you can start small and build up the distance and pace as you progress. We do recommend you invest in a good quality pair of trainers or walking shoes, as this will make all the difference to protecting not only your feet but your knees and hips too.
Beyond Pavement Pounding
If even walking seems like too great a challenge, or a miserable rainy day is enough to put you off, then swimming is an excellent fitness option for the over 50s. Naturally supporting your weight, swimming is a wonderful exercise that increases the heart rate. Set yourself gradually increasing goals, and feel satisfied as you meet them.
If heading to the pool is a new thing for you, then find out where your local one is here.
Building on Solid Fitness Foundations
As well as being a way of getting into – or maintaining – great shape, and being healthy and active, fitness can be a way to meet like-minded others and have some fun. Fitness classes aren’t all geared to the young lycra-clad gods and goddesses of the gym. There are a huge variety of fitness class options for the over 50s ranging from pilates, to yoga, to boxercise and circuits.
Knowing that you’ll be turning up with others on your side of the age-fence will reassure you that you’re in the right place. Check out local fitness classes for over 50s in your area
Keep the Fitness Plan Going
Once you’ve started, try to make small and gradual adjustments. Starting is the hardest part, but keeping going takes resilience and a good amount of willpower. Continue to remind yourself of the health benefits of improved fitness after 50 and you’ll soon find a fitness routine that works for you.
If you’re still in any doubt about what’s best in your individual case, then give your GP a call. They will advise what fitness options are best suited in your situation, with your medical history. Alternatively, book an induction at your local gym where on-hand trainers will guide and advise on the best options.