We all want to be empowered warriors. But if you’re not naturally athletic and are on the far side of 50, it doesn’t take much to lose your way on your fitness journey. During the pandemic, many of us hunkered down at home—literally—and feel like we’re starting all over again. Don’t be discouraged. It may feel daunting, but there are many low-key ways to ease back into exercising as you age.
If you’re up a clothing size or two and feel hopeless, take a deep breath. You probably think it’ll take something drastic to get back in shape, like a triathlon. But with such a big goal ahead of you, you may freeze and give up before you begin. You also need to take into account aging joints that can be prone to injury. So just stretch. Get reacquainted with your body and slowly loosen up those muscles every day. When you’re ready for more, you can move onto a new activity. Or if you love the stretching, you can transition into a yoga routine.
It doesn’t sound like much. But when you’re cooped up at home, you don’t realize that you’re out of practice doing the simplest things. Working from home even eliminates short jaunts like walking to your car in the parking lot. Get out that pedometer and start with ten minutes a day. Walking is low-impact, which is ideal for mature physiques. Do it with your partner or a friend or use the time to reflect on your goals. Work up to 10,000 steps a day and you’ll be prepared to build on your regimen.
It’s time to get out and enjoy nature again. But jumping back onto your bicycle might be more than you can handle. And you might not realize it until you’re stuck halfway up a hill. Try an electric bicycle that you can adjust for your fitness level. It can give you a pedaling boost when you need it, or the motor can take over completely on inclines. As you strengthen your legs, you can eventually turn off the electricity and go it alone.
Turning on the television might have been part of the problem, but it can be a surprisingly effective low-key way to ease back into exercising as you age. Free workout videos have popped up all over YouTube, and they’re perfect for when you don’t feel confident returning to the gym just yet. Try a different one each day until you find something you love. In the dance category alone, you can start grooving to everything from Bollywood choreography to J. Lo’s Super Bowl routine to the latest TikTok craze.