Are you 50 or over, and feeling the ‘nudge’ to get fit, lose weight or perhaps eliminate achy joints? According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, an active lifestyle can contribute to the minimization of joint pain, while improving your energy level and mood.

Whether you’ve been active for years or have always lived a sedentary lifestyle, there’s no time like the present to look and feel younger than you have in years! But take note: your body is changing (like it or not) which means you need a specialized workout to meet all of your needs—in order to minimize the risk of injury.

Start Each Workout With a Warm-Up

Senior Woman Stretching Her LegsNo matter what your age, everyone needs and deserves a warm-up, prior to exercising. Stretching will loosen your muscles, and gear them up for running, walking (or even dancing!) It’s a ‘non-negotiable’ for your workout plan. Do you really have to? Yep. Research shows that when you head right into your workout without first raising your heart rate by taking a couple minutes to walk and/or stretch, injury can result.

Focus on a Consistent Exercise Schedule

If you’re just beginning a workout plan for the first time, have realistic expectations. No one (not even a 21 year old!) can transform their body overnight. However, a strong, fit, healthy body that you want to achieve comes with a consistent—not sporadic—workout routine. In other words, don’t go all week long without moving, knowing that when the weekend comes, you’ll “make up for it.”

Commit to constant movement on a daily basis. This can easily be done (even with the busiest of schedules) by looking out for opportunities to challenge yourself physically. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the grocery store instead of driving. Partner up with an old friend who loves hiking as much as you do wants to be your walking companion every Saturday morning.

Pay Attention to Your Body’s ‘Cues’

Woman powerJust as the times are changing, so is your body—but this can be a good thing! When you pay attention to the ‘cues’ your body is sending you, you can become empowered and connected to it. Every pain or ache you experience is your body’s way of communicating that something (your knee joint, lower back pain, thyroid dysfunction) needs your immediate attention. If, during a workout, you experience discomfort, light headedness or pain of any kind, stop. Talk to your doctor, and accommodate your exercise plan to meet the needs of your body.

Make Strength Training a Top Priority

Are you frustrated that you’re no longer as flexible as you used to be? Are you having trouble sleeping through the night? Are you experiencing the onset of arthritis?  Strength training can transform even the most frustrating of symptoms and can be the platform you need to minimize stress, as well as improve your health for the future.  Start by incorporating two total body workouts per week. Rotate between your upper body and lower body, making sure to start with light weights and as you gain strength, gradually working your way up.

When you commit to consistent exercise, your body can and will contribute to a higher quality of life.  Do you want to improve your health and happiness?  Exercise can drastically change your mood, minimize pain and best of all, prepares you for the best years of your life— which is still yet to come!