Optimize Your Fitness Routine for Seniors
Whether your goal is to get stronger or to lose weight, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get there – even as you get older. Here’s how training over 50 smartly can help.
“Urgh, gawd – do I have to?”
This was my first ‘poor me’ thought when my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. And not because of the time factor – in fact, I’m an early-morning freak! It was because, in the full throes of my perimenopausal months, I dreaded the thought of facing my clients.
I was a master personal trainer teaching women and men in my one-on-one studio to be fit, strong, and lean. And I felt like a complete imposter! The hormonal dance of perimenopause had me bloated, puffy, tired, and sore. Muscles that I’d always been secretly chuffed with had done a disappearing act. And I basically felt like crap!
Nothing I’d learned in my years of study and training was working for me. So, in desperation, I got my running shoes out and started pounding the pavement. I hadn’t run for years! I upped the ante in my workout sessions by adding plyometric jumps into the mix. I played around with my eating, denying myself food groups – and zero, zip, nada!
The thought of giving in to what menopause was throwing at me was alive and kicking in my brain. What the hell is happening to me? Maybe this was it, I thought. Welcome to life in my new menopausal body.
But the master personal trainer and exercise-lover in me kicked in. I knew what my body needed. I just had to figure out how to deliver it in a way that wouldn’t wreck me and would give me back my confidence and muscle tone.
A Holistic Approach to Exercise for Older Adults
Using the best of yoga, power yoga, barre, Pilates, functional strength training, and low-impact cardio moves, I started doing and teaching 20-minute dynamic flow workouts. And I learned pretty quickly that training shorter and smarter was the key!
Why? The crazy hormonal dance of menopause places stress on your body and mind. It’s totally normal, and it happens to us all, just like puberty. But with puberty, you had the advantage of body-rejuvenating youth to see you through it. Now, over 50, the crazy hormonal changes can take a toll. Your body is not so forgiving, and your frazzled mind suffers. Accepting it and what you’re going through makes it easier to find solutions with a clear head.
Tailoring Your Fitness Routine for Age and Health
I’ve surveyed nearly two thousand women over 50 about their fitness and health. The two key dilemmas that always pop up are:
- What they’ve been doing for years, exercise-wise, is not working for their body anymore, and it is leaving them tired and sore with little results for all their efforts, and
- The time factor of a longer exercise routine has them skipping their workouts.
Tweak Your Style Training Over 50
Switching up your training routine doesn’t mean you’re not going to be challenged, or that you’re going backwards. It means you’re choosing to train smarter for where your body is at!
You need to re-jig your exercise routines roughly every 10 years. I’ve learned this from my 20 years of being a master personal trainer.
So, after 50, use the following to make your workouts count:
- Add dynamic movements – ones that lengthen and strengthen your body, get your heart rate up, and are arranged in a flow – to your training session. Make sure these moves get multiple muscle groups kicking in at the same time.
- Use interval-style training principles to raise and lower your heart rate in bursts. This is a far more effective way of burning body fat than long, drawn-out sessions.
- Intersperse low-impact cardio moves to get your heart rate going but keep the pressure off your joints.
- Try balance exercises to strengthen the stabilizing muscles around your joints. These are the muscles you want strong and flexible so they can support you if you trip or fall.
- Tackle flexibility work to stretch your muscles and target the ones that support your spine. Your body naturally shortens and tightens as you age. Still, you can counteract this shortening by working on your fascia, the fine layer of connective tissue that covers your body from head to toe. When this fascia is tight, your joints and muscles suffer.
And yes, you can do all the above in a 20-minute workout! It’s all about how the exercises are sequenced and how frequently you do them. Consistent movement will minimize the aches and pains as you age. Doing challenging body-lengthening and body-strengthening movements daily will change the way you move, the way you feel, and the way you look.
Training is a lifelong journey. Just like how you brush your teeth in the morning, schedule a non-negotiable workout every day – with a day or two of rest per week, of course! When you know it’s only a 20-minute, body-shaping commitment, skipping your workout is harder to justify.
Stuck for ideas? Grab your FREE 20-Minute Power Yoga Workout here!