Older and Fitter? Challenging Yourself As You Age

 Being active can be fun.  Especially when you enjoy it with friends.

Being active can be fun.  Especially when you enjoy it with friends.

Why is it that many people believe their fitness must decline as they age? The fact is, you don’t just have to get older and wiser. If you want to become the best version of yourself, it’s totally possibly to become older and fitter, too.

Each person will have a different starting point, but whether you’re a total beginner in fitness or you’ve been doing bits for a while doesn’t matter. You can become fitter if you challenge yourself as you age. How? Read on for some tricks and suggestions!

1. Get A Fitness Tracker

If you want to challenge yourself, it’s a good idea to find a simple way of tracking where you are right now. A good fitness tracker can clue you in on a lot of things; your sleeping pattern, how many steps you’re doing each day, your heart rate, and more. Having your starting point will help you set realistic goals with an aim to improve in any way that you can.

Make sure you focus on one thing at a time. Don’t attempt to do it all at once, as it can get a little overwhelming and you might feel like giving up. You can find lots of different types of fitness trackers today, whether you want to wear it on your wrist, or even clipped to you as you work out. Make sure you do some research and weigh the pros and cons so you can get the most out of yours.

2. Start Taking Your Sleep More Seriously

If there’s one thing most people don’t take seriously, it’s their sleep. Sleep is absolutely imperative if you want to become a fitter, happier, healthier version of yourself. If you get enough sleep, your body will recover properly from activity, you’ll feel less stressed, and your hunger hormones will be more regulated. People who don’t get enough sleep often ache more, feel stressed out, and want to comfort eat because of an increase of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Plus, the cortisol hormone produced by stress can make the body hold on to fat, especially belly fat.

Aim to go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each day. Do this even on weekends. If you’re not getting enough sleep during the week and catch up on weekends, it’s very confusing for your body. You want to get into a regular routine.

3. Eat To Fuel Your Body

Make sure that when you eat, 90% of the time you’re doing it to fuel your body. Eating the right foods is especially important as we age. The body tends to hold on to fat more easily as we age, so it can be more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Make sure you’re getting plenty of micronutrients in your food by eating lots of fruit and vegetables. Also ensure that your diet has a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs. You can use food tracking apps for this, and when you have a good feel for what you should be eating you can stop using them. Learning a little about nutrition will go a long way! You don’t have to be perfect, but you should definitely remain consistent.

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4. Sign Up To Do Something New And Exciting

If you want to challenge yourself, the best way to do it is to sign up to do something new and exciting. You could do a triathlon, or climb a mountain. You can look at resources like www.gmexpeditions.com for inspiration. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to train so that you are prepared and feeling good about your challenge.

5. Go to a New Class

How about going to a new class, if you want to ease yourself into health and fitness? Your local gym probably has many beginner classes that you can get involved in. The great thing about classes is that there is a sense of community - it always feels easier exercising with other like-minded people than exercising alone. You should be able to find something regardless of your age and fitness level, so do your research.

6. Walk As Much As Possible

On top of the exercise you do during classes and anywhere else, attempt to walk as much as possible. It’s a sad fact that people just aren't getting the amount of steps in each day that they should be getting. This is why investing in a fitness tracker is great, as you have a good idea of how much you’re really moving throughout the day. If you barely walk at all, starting with a goal of 6000 steps a day is a good idea. You can then slowly work your way up.  8,000-10,000 steps per day is recommended!

7. Look Into Low Impact Exercise Techniques

If you struggle to get about for whatever reason, you should look into low impact exercise techniques. Perhaps your age, a physical disability, or injury is stopping you from exercising as much as you’d like. Low impact exercise is gentle on your joints but can still give you a good workout. Some examples include walking, swimming, and yoga.

8. Work On Your Flexibility

Flexibility is another crucial aspect of your health and fitness. You might have the greatest cardio and resistance routine out there, but without flexibility, you’ll struggle! Work on this regularly.

9. Reduce Your Stress

Stress can impact your sleep, your appetite, your hormones, and more. Reduce your stress levels and you’ll not only feel better, you should notice better results from your efforts. Deep breathing and meditation are two great ways for reducing stress.

10. Don’t Forget; What You Do Out Of The Gym Is Just As Important As What You Do In The Gym!

It’s important to do the right things out of the gym (or wherever you choose to workout) as well as in the gym. If you’re working out but filling your face full of junk, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, and doing other things that are bad for you, you won’t enjoy the same benefits, and you certainly won’t become any fitter or healthier. 

Becoming more active is a great start.  But don’t ignore other aspects of your life that could be sabotaging your attempt to get healthier and more fit.  No one says you have to change everything at once.  In fact, I don’t recommend that.  Focus on one area at a time until it becomes a habit, then move on.  Before you know it, you will feel better and look better than ever.