5 Mistakes Older Women Make With Exercise
I’ve used exercise videos most of my life for my exercise routine. Now with YouTube, I can do a variety and work lots of muscle groups, or do yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi. I’m finding though that I can’t do all of the exercises at the same intensity as I used to.
I want to stand on my soapbox for a moment.
Have you noticed how few exercise videos are taught by women over 50 or have that age group in the video? Often instructors have someone do a modified version of the exercises, but that person is younger, in shape, and it sometimes looks like they are bored doing the modified version. Why don’t they have people who need to do the modified version actually be the ones doing the moves!
Ok, I’ll come down off my soapbox.
The most important thing to do as you age is to exercise and keep exercising.
Studies show the affects of aging on our bodies. The changes in our hormones, along with the change in how our body processes nutrients, cause us to experience:
Mistakes that sabotage your exercise routine
Wearing your workout clothes as your wardrobe
Exercise fitness wear is a huge market. You can get all styles and colors. But what happens when you get so comfortable wearing these clothes that they become your everyday wardrobe and there’s no motivation to exercise? This YouTube video explains it precisely!
Thinking you exercise more than you do
If you fill out health forms at your doctor’s office for your annual exam, one of the questions is usually “How many times a week do you exercise?” Do you list what you actually do every week or what you plan to do but never really get around to? Wishful thinking doesn’t equal stronger biceps.
Using the aches and pains as an excuse
Working out when you have a real injury is usually not wise during recovery unless the doctor or physical therapist gives you specific exercises. But not exercising just because some muscles are sore or you anticipate soreness the next day is not an excuse to lay on the couch and do nothing.
Thinking you don’t have time to exercise
For most of us who had children, when they were young we dreamed of having more time to do the things we wanted to do and exercise and taking care of ourselves may have been on the list. While we often find ourselves still busy after the kids move out, there is time to exercise.
Not eating right
Did you take more time when you were younger or had kids at home to plan nutritious meals? Funny how that just isn’t the same after 50. When there’s just the two of you or you live alone, eating right doesn’t seem to be a priority. What you eat affects how you feel, which affects how you feel about yourself, which affects your motivation to take care of yourself.
What can you do to be motivated to exercise?
To address the mistakes above:
- Set aside your favorite workout clothes for just exercising. They are off-limits to wear any other time.
- Track how much you exercise (more info about that below).
- Most aches and pains will diminish as you exercise. As muscles get stronger, you will experience less soreness.
- Schedule exercise on your calendar a minimum of 3 times a week for 30-40 minutes.
- Learn how nutrition affects exercise.
Find a role model who is doing it well
What we need are role models that address and acknowledge the changes in our bodies and at the same time encourage us to keep exercising. We have a local woman who holds the USA Track and Field Women’s Masters records for 5k and 15k races in the 80-84 age bracket! It’s easy to think you could never do that, but maybe you could or at least use her as an example to lose the excuse that you are ‘too old’.
Make yourself the priority
Most women give and give to their family, work, volunteering and other organizations, but neglect themselves. The best gift you can give to yourself and those around you is the gift of health, vitality, and a positive outlook. A brisk walk everyday does wonders not only for your body but also for your brain and your self-esteem.
Find a buddy or class
If you aren’t someone who can commit to exercising on your own, then you must find accountability. If you can afford a gym membership, attend a variety of classes. Find a class that you will enjoy, but don’t be afraid to try something new; Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and even indoor rock climbing. It may be difficult at first, but just trying something new can inspire you to keep exercising.
Don’t like the gym? Then find a local running club that have Tortoise and Hare runs, or a cycling club that bikes for 1-2 hours in the evenings or get on the NextDoor app and find others that are walking in your neighborhood.
Include massage therapy as part of your routine
I’m not talking about a relaxing spa massage. Search a massage therapist who works with athletes and/or auto accident patients. I speak from personal experience. I somehow injured my right shoulder in May. It literally stopped my exercise routine because I couldn’t lift weights. Even riding a bike caused pain from gripping the bike handle.
Because I was protecting the area to reduce the pain, the muscles contracted and shortened. Scar tissue started forming, causing restricted range of motion. It’s been May to November and I’m finally 95% back to pre-injury mobility and working on the other 5%. Recovery took a combination of chiropractic and deep massage, but I’m thrilled to be back exercising!
Track your progress
You need to track how many times you exercise and keep it as a reminder every day. Print a calendar online, tape it to your fridge and list what you did and for how long. At the very least, put on “X” on the days you exercised. It will motivate you to get moving. There are also free online programs and apps such as My Fitness Pal where you can track your food and your activity. I love this program as it’s easy to use. There’s also a community of users for support.
So which mistakes do you find yourself doing? Comment below and let me know. Which suggestions will you incorporate so that you can become healthier and feel better?
Remember, it’s never too late to make changes to your exercise routine, eating habits and lifestyle choices.
Disclaimer: Information found on this website or links to other websites are for informational purposes only and not intended for medical advice. You know your body and your physical, emotional and mental situation. Consult your physician before making any changes.
Kristy Klenk has reached the 55 (and counting) birthday and finds this stage of life and aging an interesting adventure. For over 20 years she has been on a journey of living a holistic lifestyle and continues to research its positive effects on aging.