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Stay Fabulous At 50 By Staying Fit

Let us face it. In your 50’s your body is not the same as it was in your 20’s and 30’s, as aging changes many things internally. However, exercising after your 50’s can add healthy years to your life, and it is important that you exercise caution and the right thing in the right way. And with the ongoing pandemic and lessons that COVID-19 is teaching us, there is no doubt that you need to be fit of all ages to battle new-age health challenges. While a significant proportion of Americans are active, less than 25% of adults meet national physical activity guidelines and 40% have obesity as per the ACSM American Fitness Index 2020 report. And as you age fitness is harder while more necessary.

Know Your Body

As the body begins to age, it is not as receptive to unexpected changes and this becomes just another reason to work out and uphold a certain level of fitness.

“As you age, adapting an active and healthy lifestyle is of prime importance to help regulate and monitor your health base. Moreover, indulging in exercise and body workouts on a regular basis can guard you against unwanted heart ailments, diabetes and can also avert you from certain forms of cancer. Working out regularly can also lessen discomfort related to arthritis. By refining one’s stability and balance, suppleness, stamina, fortitude, and strength, older adults can live restored and healthier longer,” says Shalini Bhargava, Fitness Expert & Director at JG’S Fitness Centre.

Exercise Mix

Endurance exercises, such as low-impact aerobics, walking, using cardiovascular equipment such as elliptical trainers, cycle, and swimming based on the level of physical conditioning and current status of health at least five days each week is recommended.

The 50s are when chances of developing osteoporosis goes up and therefore it is imperative to add toning exercises; cardio alone is not enough. Pilates, yoga, and weight-training are some of the options to maintain muscle mass and tone up. These exercises should best be done under professional supervision to avoid injury. Swimming is yet another great workout for this age-group as the risk of injury is much less.

“I would suggest you do either 15 minutes of toning regularly or 45 minutes, thrice a week in combination with a cardio activity of course. During a cardio workout, you are bearing your own body weight, the bones work against gravity and hence reduce mineral loss. I am 52, so I ensure I weight train for two days, dance for two days, and walk for at least four hours a week,” says Suman Agarwal, Celebrity Nutritionist, Author, and Founder of Selfcare India.

Since their movement becomes decreased at that age, they need to focus more on their flexibility and mobility.

“One should avoid strenuous training and sprinting on the treadmill. Not many chest movements should be done and overhead pressing movements should be avoided. Whenever one feels uncomfortable, they should stop immediately and not continue,” says Prosenjit Biswas, Fitness Manager, Skulpt gym, Kolkata.

Do it Right

Sujeet Kumar of Fatcherry International

Start slowly, especially when embarking on a new exercise routine, and ensure you have professional supervision.

Anjali Sareen, The Zone Mind & Body Studio avers, “Choosing a fitness program based on one’s own goals and needs is a must. Selecting fitness routines based on current popular trends or because your friends are doing them or out of convenience of location or price should not be deciding factors. A better option is to focus on personal training sessions with an experienced professional. These sessions can be customized to suit your fitness level, goals, and take into consideration any health concerns or injuries. An experienced professional will be able to include a diverse range of exercises and programming to cover all aspects of a complete fitness program from physical goals to energy and mind gains.”

“Active warm-up reduces resistance to stretch and increases elastic properties or ability to stretch where activity includes stationary cycling, fast walk, or rowing machine. “Proper breathing techniques are often helpful in relaxing and may help reduce stress levels and voluntary muscle tension to avoid internal organ injuries. Maintaining a neutral position of your spine, hips, shoulders, and neck can be greatly improved by using the hand not grasping the ankle to grab the back of a chair to maintain a balance. Gradually decrease in exercise intensity at the end of any cardiovascular exercise to allow heart rate and blood pressure to decrease,” explains Sujeet Kumar, Director & Coach, Fatcherry International Pvt Ltd.

Look Out

Once over 50, it is best to avoid strenuous exercise like long-distance running, high-impact aerobics and weight-training exercises like deadlifts as these can put you at a higher risk of injury. As you age, your muscles shrink, hence opt for low-intensity cardio and toning activities. Avoid running on a treadmill or brisk-walking on an incline as both forms put pressure on the knees. Instead, jog on the ground.

Himay Chikani and Amrin Memon, Co-founders, AH Fitness opine, “Untrained seniors who begin exercising should start at a relatively low exercise intensity and volume. The early phase of the training program should be directed towards learning proper exercise techniques and minimizing the risk of injuries. Advanced and demanding exercises should be incorporated gradually into the program.”

Diksha Chhabra, Fitness Expert, Nutritionist & Founder, Diksha Chhabra Fitness Consultation adds, “High-intensity training, plyometric training, skipping, running or certain movements of weight training like Deadlift, Pull-ups, Leg extensions, and Heavyweight training needs more attention and care while performing as this is the age when your joints start showing signs of detrition and workouts with multiple joints involved or a moment of pressure can put unnecessary jerk on the joints can lead to a long term injury. Hence one must practice controlled momentum and intensity with or without weights for long-term activity.”

Take Care

Always warm-up before starting your workout and cool down when you finish. When you injure yourself at a young age, recovery is much faster. At 50, injuries take longer to heal. Stretches are a must as shoulder, lower back, and knee pain are most common for those in the age bracket.

Sheetal Tewari, Holistic Health Coach, Yoga and meditation teacher, Sound Healer advises, “Do not overdo. The thumb rule is not overdoing anything just because you like it and it’s exciting to try new workouts. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. Choose what works for your body type not what everyone else is doing.” Do pay attention to your body’s signals and try new exercises but with complete precautions.

Dr. Ashish Jain, Orthopedic surgeon, P.D Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, Mumbai explains, “The aim now is to get into ‘anti-aging’ mode. Weight training must continue with maximum possible intensity to help maintain muscle mass and bone density. I suggest focusing more on leg workouts as they comprise the larger body segment and need to be strong for the coming years ahead. Squats, leg press, knee extensions, hamstring curls, and calf raises help in overall leg development. Some form of daily cardio is essential too and I suggest ‘low impact’ options like walks, swimming, cycling, and cross trainers.”

Consistency is the key. So, stay fabulous at 50 by staying fit.


Bindu Gopal Rao is a freelance writer and photographer from Bangalore who likes taking the offbeat path when traveling. Birding and environment are her favorites and she documents her work on www.bindugopalrao.com.

Skyrocket Your Energy Level

Do you ever watch a group of kids at play and wonder where they get all that energy? If you were able to bottle all that vim and vigor, you would make a fortune selling this elixir at offices in early afternoons or at the juice bar in the local fitness center.

You are not alone when you get that sagging feeling in the early afternoon, or when you just don’t have quite enough oomph to finish your exercise routine.

There has been a proliferation of energy drinks and “healthy” granola bars in the market, as the solution to replenishing that empty fuel tank.

However, most of these highly sweetened liquids and foods use sugars to give your body a quick energy boost. The catch is, not only do you exhaust the sugar-supplied energy very quickly; it also slows your metabolism down and can further hinder you’re the progress towards your fitness goals.

The good news is, there are a number of other things that you can do to increase your energy levels…naturally. Some of it has to do with shift in dietary habits, while others involve lifestyle changes, and then there are exercises that immensely help fill up your energy reserves.

Dietary Energy Boosters

Reduce your sugar consumption
Sugar causes energy fluctuations that contribute to fatigue. Eat foods and snacks that are high in protein and good, complex carbohydrates, the source of energy.

Increase your iron intake
An iron deficiency is responsible for much of the chronic fatigue. Eat foods that are high in iron and take a good, natural iron supplement.

Drink lots of water
A dehydrated body tires easily, so stay hydrated with frequent glasses of water.

Eat smaller and frequent meals
Large meals, particularly lunch, will contribute to that groggy feeling in the early afternoon. More frequent meals stabilize insulin levels and keep your metabolism up throughout the day.

Eat brain food
Consume healthy fats like those in fish and green leafy vegetables to boost your brain function and provide energy.

Eat healthy snacks
A snack of protein, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables will keep your blood sugars at a consistent level all day long. Protein combats fatigue and builds muscle mass to appear toned.

Whole grains take longer for your system to metabolize and give a steady supply of energy, not the quick, short-lived burst that sugars supply.

Enjoy your cup of coffee but don’t over do it. The initial rush from caffeine is not long-lasting and will leave you fatigued and dehydrated.

Eat lots of fiber
Fiber promotes satiety and the slow release of sugar will give you sustained energy throughout the day.

Lifestyle Changes for An Energy Boost

Practice deep breathing
Breathing with your abdominal muscles will increase your oxygen intake to improve your lung capacity and increase overall stamina overtime.

Start your day with a big breakfast
Your body needs a jump-start in the morning and a good, well-balanced breakfast rich in protein and complex carbohydrates is the best way to start the day and feel fresh for a long time.

Stop smoking
Smoking depletes oxygen and in turn reduces stamina to leave you feeling fatigued.

Sleep with the sun
Sleep hormones are linked to natural light. Going to sleep early helps you awaken naturally without requiring an alarm.  If it is still light outside, create the illusion of darkness by using heavy curtains to block off sunlight and streetlights, switching off laptops, cell phones and other gadgets to prepare your body for a restful night of sleep.

Read before going to bed
Establish a sleep ritual like reading before retiring. It helps block out other noise in your mind and helps you fall asleep faster.

Avoid sleeping with pets
Pets on your bed will disturb your sleep if you keep bumping into them. So get the dog and cat to sleep in their own beds. That way everyone wakes up feeling fresh.

Exercises That Provide Energy Boost

Get up and stretch
It is important to take a break to stretch from sitting down for too long to maintain a good blood flow to your body and brain. Stretch your body out will keep you from sagging into lethargy and bad posture.

Have a short morning workout routine
This will shake off your sleepiness, rev up your metabolism and get your blood flowing for most of the day.

Play competitive sports
Playing a sport requires thinking and will spark your mental energy. Desire to win and winning provides adrenaline rush to keep you feeling youthful.

Go for a brisk, short walk after a big meal. It will aid digestion and avoid feeling bloated.

Try doing the following to beat drowsiness. Remove your watch, and stand straight. Extend your right arm slightly, palm down. With your left hand, rub the right arm firmly from wrist to shoulder. Rotate palm upwards, and rub firmly from shoulder to wrist.

Repeat this until ten repetitions are completed. Reverse and rub the left arm with the right hand.

Stand straight with feet slightly spread. Raise your hands to shoulder height, elbows bent at 90 degrees, palms facing down. Start shaking your hands very fast with your wrists relaxed. Do this for a count to 100.

All of the above will help restore your energy and awaken you.

Puja Mukherjee, is a certified fitness trainer, who woke up one morning to drop everything in the pursuit of her passion for fitness. She says the best part about her job is to liberate her clients from their preconceived notions about fitness and see them be dazzled. Follow her at www.getmeanmuscle.com.