Fitter over 50 than at 30? If not you can be

There is a lot written about how our bodies change after the age of 50 and the impact of the menopause on our health and wellbeing. Much of this information focuses on what we lose, e.g. muscle mass, bone strength etc. but many women in their 50/60/70s actually say to me they are fitter now than they were in their 30s.

This was a response from a discussion thread on our Facebook group, Getting Fit Over Fifty.

Since turning 50, I have done the 5 great swims, cycled from London to Paris, run a half marathon, completed a Sparton and two Tough Mudders.  Three years ago I had open-heart surgery.  This hasn’t stopped me. If anything I am more determined to stay fit. Use it or lose it!

 And another,

A few years ago I started weight training along with boot camp type training exercises and I love it! Also I’ve now changed my little studio in the garden to my own weights gym.  Got a rebounder, the best fun I’ve ever had in exercising! Just started park runs, I’m walking them.  Basically I’m now 60 and more relaxed about myself, not caring what others might think of me!

The chances are if you are over 50 now, in you 30s you were working or looking after children or both! So time available to look after yourself was limited.  Many workplaces, (and children!) spread germs so colds and minor illnesses, plus tiredness, may have been a common feature for you then, I know they were for me.

Therefore despite our falling levels of oestrogen, (as a resulting the menopause) and all of the physical and mental health implications of that, it is quite feasible that you are now fitter than you were then!

Think about your answers to these questions. Now you are over 50:

Is your life more active?
Do you eat more healthily?
Are you taking more time for yourself?
Do you meditate/practice mindfulness?
Do you get less colds/minor illnesses?
Are you exercising more?
Are you sleeping better?

If you answered yes to most of these questions it is likely you are fitter now, than you were in your 30s.

If you answered no to all or some of these questions then here are some ways to think about improving your health and wellness.

Mental wellbeing

Top tip: Think about your mental health and ways you can look after and nurture it.  Practice self-care. Make a list of ways in which you can look after yourself and tick them off as you go through the week.  Listen to some of the free meditation and mindfulness recordings, just google meditation.  Try to get outside in the fresh air at least once a day.


Keep active

Top tip: Find an exercise or a programme you like and schedule it into your weekly routine.  Consider all the ways you can be active.  Try and spend some of the day moving and reduce the time you spend sitting.  Walking is an excellent exercise and is even more healthy if you can walk outside.  Try to build in a combination of exercises or activities that raise your heart rate (and make you hot), challenge your balance and improve your flexibility and ones that are focussed on weight bearing.


Sleep

Top tip: Try to stick to the same routine in terms of the time you go to bed and get up.  If your sleep is disturbed at night try not to nap in the day or keep this short.  Work out a night time routine that works for you and avoid screens, alcohol, caffeine and exercise a few hours before you intend to go to sleep.

 

You might also be interested in:

The best exercises for women over 50

How much exercise should you do in your 50s and over?

How to lose weight, get fitter and feel better