Exercising and staying active is rewarding at any age, but it can be particularly satisfying later in life. No matter if you’ve been exercising for years or are just beginning to get active, the wisdom you’ve acquired along the way can be of great assistance. Also, you are in the admirable position of getting to apply all you’ve learned to create the fitness life of your dreams. Read on for just a few of the ways working out with an experienced body can make working out older working out better.
You have lived in your body for quite a while now and you know it really well. From the good stuff—like feeling extra energized on your morning walk—to the not so good stuff—like feeling creaks in your knees—you have become an absolute expert on you. You’ve learned when to push a little harder and when to take a well earned rest day. When to lighten the weights because something doesn’t feel quite right and when to add some extra poundage because you are having a strong day. Your body has been with you for all these years. A loyal companion for every physical challenge and adventure. You two make a great team!
Working out older is about feeling strong, energetic and maintaining your independence for as long as possible. These days you probably find that the superficial things that may have concerned you when you were younger—like looking a certain way—rarely do. Having the trendiest gear or trying the latest fitness craze feels less urgent. You might even chuckle when you think of all the exercise trends you have seen come and go like Thigh masters, Shake weights. dizzying step aerobics classes and jogging in super short dolphin shorts in the 70’s. Now you wear what is comfortable and do what you enjoy. You are the king or queen of your own fitness destiny!
You and your body have been through a lot together. You have made it through illnesses, injuries, athletic challenges and just getting through another long day. This body of yours has been there for you through thick and thin and you are grateful for all that it has done for you. You are also grateful for all your body can still do, even after all these years. Though your body might be a little slower then when you were younger you still love to see what challenges you can achieve each day. From playing with your grandkids, to pickleball with your friends to walking up a steep hill. You are grateful to be able to do all of it!
Older people know how to have a great time when they are exercising. No longer is about “No pain, no gain!” or pushing so hard you end up in the ER. You take the time to chat between weight sets, hike with good friends, Zumba like nobody’s watching and to always make time for activities you love. Hopefully you also have more time on your hands and are in less of a rush, which always makes things more fun too. You’ve learned by now that the only activities you will stick with in the long run are the ones you really enjoy. Perhaps your motto is now more like, “Way less pain, all the gain!”
Easy Does It
Remember that old Nike tagline, “There is no finish line?” Was that supposed to be inspiring? As an older adult you know there is a finish line and you are much more concerned with enjoying the race. That means training to live, instead of living to train. You have come to realize that not every workout has to be super intense, which can easily lead to burnout and injury. You’ve learned to enjoy light workouts, hard workouts and everything in between. You stretch to maintain your mobility and strength training to stay strong. You’ve been around long enough to know that this is the time to let wisdom and intuition guide your workouts, instead of doing what someone else tells you is the “perfect workout.”
What are your favorite things about staying active in your 60’s and beyond?