Confused by Conflicting Fitness Advice? Then Do This
- “Move moderately every day.”
- “Go hard with your cardio just once or twice a week.”
- “Exercise more.”
- “Relax, sleep, and meditate more.”
- “The best activity for the over 50 crowd is strength training.”
- “Aerobic exercise is the best way to improve your brain and body, especially as you age.”
Well, it depends. Yes, it depends on your goals and priorities. All of the above comments are true — given a specific goal. My goal with this post is to start with the outcome you might desire and offer an appropriate suggestion based on that desired result. For example, one of you might have a primary goal to lose weight, while another of you might prioritize avoiding illness. The workout for the former person would include some high intensity, interval aerobic exercise once or twice a week. The protocol for the latter would be to walk casually every other day.
So let’s hop, skip, walk, sleep, and jump from goal to goal hoping you find what you are looking for along the way. If you ever wanted to know “what’s the best fitness advice for me?” then find your goal below with the “best” tip after it. (Also check out our post on the BEST cardio exercise).
Goal: Lose Weight
Trying to lose weight? Apparently Baby Boomers have the highest obesity rates of any age group — topping 35% in 17 states and 30% in 41 states. Freak Out Fit Fact!! If you do have a weight loss goal, try the following:
- Do interval training. (Get more scoop on how to easily incorporate Interval Training here).
- Eat meals on a regular basis. In general, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. Then put no more than 5 hours between meals.
- Look for ways to reduce stress. Taking even a 15 minute relaxation break can boost your metabolism — the rate at which your body burns calories.
- Read our post on the the best ways to burn fat. Just promise not to be sitting down while reading about fat burning!
Goal: Strengthen Your Core (we interrupt ourselves for this Public Service Announcement)
Want to feel more comfortable, capable, and confident in your body? Strenghthen your abs and core muscles. How? Take advantage of Alexandra’s and my combined 70 years’ experience as certified fitness professionals to transform your core and more with our program: “Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50.” <<< — Click that link then come back here. Move from weak and (dare we say, perhaps “flabby”) to strong and Fab-Abby!
Goal: Reduce Stress
Reducing stress is the number two top motivator for working out according to a Concorde University study (wondering what the number one motivator is? I’ll tell you at the end of the post). AARP Bulletin Jan-Feb 2014 shares that people 50–64 (uh, that’s us baby boomers again) feel more stressed out than people over 64.
How do you destress? If you are like many Americans, you turn to tv or online activities. However, people who use these methods also report not finding them helpful. Cognitive gap here readers! What is helpful for destressing? No surprise — physical activity. That’s pretty much ANY movement. How is that for good news and easy advice to follow? Do what you enjoy and you’ll be less stressed. Read our post on reducing stress and be even more mellowed out. IDEA Fitness Journal June 2014
Goal: Reduce Blood Pressure
Need to reduce your blood pressure? Try isometric exercises. Those are the kind where your muscles are under tension without changing length or joint angle. Planks and wall sits are good examples as is a chest squeeze where you press the palms of your hands together in front of your chest and hold the resistance pressing hand to hand. Envision the “namaste” position. Now hold that and stick to it for 4 weeks. Yup, you are bringing your blood pressure down! Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2014;89 , 327–34)
Goal: Increase Your Life Span
Let’s aim big here. Want to live longer (and better?) Then you must pump it up. Rest assured– you don’t have to go Arnie Schwarzie style. A UCLA study of men over 55 and women over 65 confirmed that more relative muscle mass leads to a longer life. And you’ll probably look and function better in that life too! My fitness pro tip for you? Start in a strength training class led by a knowledgeable instructor . You’ll get exercise ideas, form feedback, safety cues, and interaction to make the experience more enjoyable and effective. American Journal of Medicine 2014
Goal: Have Better Balance, Flexibility, and a Happier Life
If you want more life satisfaction, improved psychological well-being, increased flexibility, and better dynamic balance — take Pilates lessons. Mat classes brought benefits as did work on Pilates reformers and other specialized equipment. Find the Pilates training that you enjoy and reap those many benies! To increase your happiness even more, read our post on Getting Happier. IDEA Fitness Journal June 2014
Goal: Make Good Decisions
Want to make better decisions and smarter choices? Engage in 15 minutes of mindful meditation prior to making your decision. You will be able to focus more effectively on information available now (vs in the past or present) and to ignore other emotions, thoughts, issues that might get in the way of your ability to think rationally and clearly. IDEA Fitness Journal June 2014
Move to Improve
Of course, many more goals exist with endless good advice to achieve those specific goals. If we did not cover YOUR goal, put it in the comments with your question and we’ll get you the latest Fun Fit Facts and workout tips. The main message Alexandra and I hope you get from this post is that no matter what your exercise goal is, moving will help. Move Often. Move to Improve!
And since you made it all the way to this point, you get to find out the Number One Reason US adults of all ages report as their main motive for working out:
To be toned and fit. Whatever that means to you. Yup.
What motivates you to exercise?
Sign up with our blog, Fun and Fit: Active Aging Answers for Boom Chicka Boomers. Start “youthifying” today.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA International fitness professional, baby boomer, and edu-tainer, I have been in the fitness industry since the first aerobics studio opened — with me — in Europe, before leg warmers and thong leotards were the rage. I teach, write, and present programs on land, sea and airwaves. I am former faculty for the Dept of Exercise and Sports Studies at University of California Santa Barbara. Catch my twin and me at our blog, Fun and Fit: Active Aging Answers for Boom Chicka Boomers, funandfit.org, or at events you hire me to present at. Having earned the Functional Aging Specialist certification, I especially enjoy helping older adults reap the benefits of movement.
Originally published at funandfit.org.