Fitness After 60: How To Stay Fit and Healthy
It’s inevitable that our fitness goals will vary throughout our lives. We should always strive to feel and be our best, but how we go about achieving that might change. That’s a perfectly natural part of life, and it is always important to feel comfortable in the skin we’re in, no matter what.
The good news is that there are so many different ways to stay healthy. Fitness is not a monolith, so it will look different for each and every individual. While some people might strive to keep themselves in the best shape possible, others simply want to feel comfortable and confident. Neither of these goals is more legitimate than the other, but how we get there does require some dedication.
It can take many years to find ways of staying fit that are genuinely exciting and fun. To some older adults, the prospect of engaging in a cardio-heavy exercise routine sounds like their idea of a fun afternoon. Meanwhile, some people might prefer a physical activity that focuses more on strength training or toning different muscle groups.
What Are the Benefits of Staying Fit?
Weight loss isn’t the only advantage of staying fit and looking after yourself. In truth, there are almost countless benefits to exercise. There is an abundance of ways that exercising helps our physical and mental health to thrive. For instance, it aids in our continued cardiovascular well-being, can help with high blood pressure, keeps our range of motion up, and works wonders to lower stress.
You don’t have to be at the fitness level of a seemingly unreachable top-tier athlete in order to help prevent heart disease and reap all of the other rewards. If you’re new to working out, don’t worry about your results the first time. The goal isn’t to win a gold medal, it’s to be the best you can be. Luckily, creating and sticking to an exercise routine is a great step in that direction.
Although we have discussed exercise a lot up until this point in the article, it’s only part of how we can remain healthy. If your goal is to lose weight, the key to getting rid of fat is to burn more calories than you take in on any given day. Exercise will help you burn calories, but we still have to be mindful of the calories that we do consume.
Even if weight loss is not your final goal, it’s crucial for us to pay attention to what we eat so that we’re getting the nutrients we need.
How Do We Stay Healthy?
To truly answer this question, we have to establish a definition of “health.” We also have to understand that health can be a moving target. Chances are, our definition of health and being in shape is different now than it was when we were 25 years old with limitless energy. Now, it’s all about keeping up with our grandkids, and not getting too tired out when they want to play in the pool for a little while longer.
Each of us will have our own ideas and goals surrounding health, so you should determine what is important to you. Maybe one of your major goals is to reduce chronic issues like back pain. In that case, you might want to speak to a physical therapist who can give you some exercises to strengthen that area and build lean muscle.
While we all have our own goals and dreams that are specific to us, there are a few key factors of staying healthy that we need to cover.
Eating right helps give us the energy we need to take on the day, and this is especially necessary if we have a steady exercise routine. It’s crucial to eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. That way, our bodies have access to the vitamins and nutrients we need to stay in fighting form.
Over time, there might be certain foods that we can’t eat as often, or that we shouldn’t eat altogether. For instance, those who suffer from acid reflux will know that otherwise healthy foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits are a no-go. That’s because the acidity of these foods can make symptoms much worse, easily canceling out any positive effects.
If you don’t know what foods would be best for you, you can always speak with a doctor or nutritionist who will keep in mind your health conditions and formulate a plan perfect for you.
Get Enough High-Quality Exercise
Many people hear the word “exercise” and their minds immediately sprint to thoughts of running a marathon, or lifting unnecessarily heavy weights at a sweaty gym. This idea can often prevent people from getting exercise that would help them feel their best, physically and mentally. The truth is, there is no barrier to entry when it comes to exercise.
Sure, exercise can be running miles upon miles, but it can also be taking a nice walk. Anything that gets the heart rate up is a good start. Exercise should uplift us, not make us feel uneasy. In reality, there are plenty of more accessible forms of exercise that also offer significant health benefits. Oftentimes, a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training is suggested to help people thrive (especially in terms of heart health).
Not only does this help you build muscle mass and lower body fat through different types of exercise, but a varied exercise regimen also keeps the body and mind guessing. If you spend day after day lifting weights and using the same dumbbells, it’s understandable that you may want to branch out of your routine. Your exercise program should be tailored to you, your ability, and what you find fulfilling.
If you enjoy resistance training, then perhaps doing repetitions of squats with a resistance band could be one of the best exercises for you. If you like to use your body weight to aid in your workout, then try activities like push-ups, or look into pilates and similar programs. Whether your primary concerns are muscle loss, losing weight, bone density, or something else entirely, you can also speak to a personal trainer to get a professional’s two cents.
Eating Healthy Doesn’t Mean Eating Boring
Just because you’re being more aware of what you eat doesn’t mean food has to stop being fun. In fact, this can be an opportunity to try new foods you haven’t tried before. You can make new takes on old favorites, like oatmeal. Oatmeal is already healthy on its own, since the soluble fiber found in the oats helps our heart and reduces the risk for diabetes. However, you can always put a new spin on it.
Adding different fruits and spices like cinnamon is a great way to turn oatmeal new again. Turns out, this breakfast staple still has some excitement left to give us. Depending on your digestion, you can also start incorporating more dairy products into your diet, like yogurt or milk. The calcium in these items helps promote bone health, making them a worthy asset.
Everything in Moderation
It is true that we should cut down on fried food, saturated fats, sugar, and other additives as we get older, but we should have been doing that all along. Besides, you can still have a cookie every now and then. Going completely cold turkey isn’t realistic for most people, so rather than looking at it as cutting things out of your diet, consider it a way to try something new.
Besides, this way when you do get to eat that cookie, you will know to really savor each and every bite.
Can Exercise Be Fun?
A lot of the methods of exercise we mentioned in this article had to do with being in a gym setting, but that’s far from the only way to get exercise. Find an activity that you genuinely like to do. That’s the best way to ensure you actually stick to your exercise regimen. Many people enjoy games like pickleball, or other exciting activities.
Go for a Swim
Swimming is not only fantastic aerobic exercise, but it’s also plain old fun. You can go completely at your own pace while surrounded by cool, refreshing water. There are also a bunch of stylish swimsuits that will have you feeling your best at the pool.
Feel Your Best
Everyone’s fitness journey is their own to explore. Always look at fitness and health as an addition to your life, because that’s what it is. By feeling the best you can be, you ensure your ability to live each and every day to the fullest.
Exercise and Stress: Get Moving To Manage Stress | Mayo Clinic
3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Start Your Day With Healthy Oatmeal | Mayo Clinic Health System