I am 57 years old and I’ve been running for 35 years. I ran my first track session on this track (in photo) when I was 28 years old and here I am, back at the same track 29 years later.
You might be thinking that I’m a fast runner; after all, only fast people run on a track, right?
Not so! Only people who love running will run on a track once a week, pushing themselves straight through the comfort zone to holy hell. Yes, I’m on of those kinds of people.
But I’m doing what I love and that’s the point I want to make here. Staying fit after the age of 50 means doing what you love: finding YOUR joy and DOING IT.
You know exercise is good for you so I’m not going to write about all the benefits you get from regular physical activity (like good sleep, joyful mood, clear thinking….sorry couldn’t help myself!) but I find that it gets harder and harder to get myself out the door now that I’m almost 60. My body hurts more often and it takes me longer to recover from track sessions. But what keeps me going is how I feel after the workout. I feel GOOD. I feel refreshed. I feel capable and these are good feelings, people!
I have friends who hate running. One likes swimming, one likes dancing, one likes gardening. I see their faces light up when they talk about doing these activities (and with all the bad stuff in the news these days, anything that makes your face light up should be done on a regular basis!).
Some people say “why do you run, you don’t need to lose weight” but I don’t run to lose weight. Running gives me so much more than burning calories. I often joke that running is cheaper than Prozac but there’s some truth to that joke – moving your body is good therapy and for some people, can alleviate depression.
My friend who loves dancing would say the same thing about dancing. It brings him JOY and that’s why he does it. And that’s the key to staying fit after the ripe old age of 50: finding joy in physical activity. Doing what makes you happy.
So, what kind of physical activity brings YOU joy? What feels good? (Ok, get your minds out of the gutter!) Whatever it is, find a way to integrate it into your daily routine. If you’re starting from scratch, don’t worry about heart rate, intensity, etc, just do it. Focus on how it feels, not on how many calories it burns. Make it a priority at least 3 times a week and start reaping the benefits.
Fitness after 50 may not be as hard as you think. In fact, it might be the ticket to bringing more joy into your life.