When you hit 60 you should start to have more time ahead of you. Some of your commitments have gone, and you should be looking to retire from your job. This should mean you have loads of free time to get out there and exercise, and stay as fit and as healthy as possible.
Now you should really be talking to your doctor when you’re thinking of starting a new exercise programme to make sure you’re not going to do yourself any damage. With this aside, you shouldn’t let age be a barrier to good health. It’s never too late to take on a healthier lifestyle!
If you’re struggling to find motivation to kick-start your fitness regime, think about your future. Unfortunately your health is going to decline and the best way to keep it at bay is to get out there and get fit.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are so incredibly important at this age that you need to get as many portions in your diet as possible. Add another two servings each day to your current consumption. A good way to do this is to have a piece of fruit as pudding after your meal and for your meals simply double up how much vegetable you give yourself.
You should also try and cut down on alcohol. Alcohol increases your blood pressure and puts you at risk of more cardiovascular illnesses. You can still drink socially, but do you need to have a drink on an evening if you’re just in the house?
Similar to alcohol, red meat can increase your cholesterol so this is something else you should consider reducing in your diet. You do need to get some red meat though, just aim not to have it for more than two main meals a week.
When you go into your late 70s, 80s and beyond, falling becomes very dangerous. If you can find ways of fitting in balance activities into your exercise schedule it will really help you in later life. T’ai chi is one good example. There are plenty of classes where you can do t’ai chi with people your own age (whatever your age) and it will help build up your muscles, work on your balance, and focus your mind.
One thing t’ai chi can’t achieve though is getting your heart beating and improving your cardio, so you’ll need to couple it with an exercise like walking or swimming. As you get older swimming becomes a better alternative to walking as you’re always carefully watched and there’s a much lower chance of personal injury. 30-40 minutes 4 times a week will get you on the road to fitness.
As you get older you are less likely to be able to do these more complex exercises, and so you might want to focus instead on low-impact exercises such as aerobics classes, or mild resistance training classes. Water aerobics combines both of these and works well if you do it for 30 minutes three times a week.
Don’t Give In to Retirement
When you retire you might well be tempted to sit at home with the TV on. In fact, retirees watch 4 hours of TV a day on average. Whilst watching a bit of TV is good, 4 hours a day is quite excessive. You can use this time much more effectively to go out and exercise. You can also use some of this time to socialise too – many studies have shown that a more active social life filters through and greatly increases your wellbeing.
Another perk of retirement is a free bus pass. Whilst these are great for long distances, don’t be tempted to give in and catch the bus a short distance. Whilst you’re still able to walk this distance easily you need to be doing it.
To end this article on keeping fit in later life, remember the key points. Firstly, you should really concentrate on what you eat. Avoid ready meals and try and increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Second, exercise should be a much slower affair these days, with more resistance and low-impact classes. Thirdly, don’t let retirement make your lazy – see it as the opposite; get out there and do more!
Finally, we’ll leave you with a parting thought. There is a documentary entitled “Surfing for Life” about a group of people who surf very large waves in Hawaii. They were all over 60 at the time, and some of them were well into their 80s. They are living proof that it’s never too late to have a healthy, active lifestyle.