Sarah Maxwell explains how it’s time to ramp things up when it comes to exercise

Are you 50+ and think it’s about time that you slowed down and took things easier?

I’m going to disappoint a few of you now because, 50+ is the time to speed things up!We lose muscle mass, bone density, mobility and flexibility naturally as we age, belly fat becomes an issue as we start thickening around the middle.Even if you are naturally slim, you could have excess visceral fat. Visceral fat is fat that you can’t see,  the fat wraps around the vital organs, heart, liver and underused muscle.

An excess of visceral fat greatly increases the risk of:

  • Heart attack and heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Stroke
  • Breast cancer
  • Alzheimer’s

The link below will show you how to go about measuring your level and give you an indication of your visceral fat levels.

healthline.com/health/waist-to-hip-ratio#calculate

Now let me tell you the good news!

Regular exercise, combining aerobic activity and weight bearing exercises will go a long way to reducing your fat levels. A well balanced diet, reducing sugar, processed food and upping the vegetables is the way to go. Reducing stress levels, regular exercise, relaxation, a good sleep pattern, meditation and me-time are all essential ingredients.

Regular exercise will make a huge difference to your mental health whether it is a steady walk with friends or a training session at the gym or class. You will build muscle, lose fat, increase bone density, mobility and flexibility – there is no reason why in your 50s and beyond you can’t be as strong and flexible as you were in your 30s! People who take this approach will look younger, have better skin, more energy and a much more positive outlook along with an increased quality of life.

Here is my recipe for being fit and fabulous at 50 and beyond:

Regular aerobic exercise: 2-3 times a week

This can be walking, dancing, climbing the stairs (anything that gets your heart rate up). Try to get outside as often as possible for around 15 minutes a day to boost your vitamin D levels and to make you feel good inside and out.

Strength training/interval training: 2-3 times a week (this doesn’t have to take long, 10-15 minutes is good) 

You don’t need to use weights, your body weight is just fine.

Stretch and mobilise every day (I do this before my morning shower every day)

Exercise can be done in stages throughout the day and is just as effective. If you don’t have time for a 20-minute walk, do 10 minutes and some more or something different later in the day. Dance around your kitchen, walk around the supermarket instead of shopping online. It all helps.

You don’t have to be a gym bunny, but if you want to bounce now and through old age, the time to think about your physical and mental health is now!

Sarah is running a free two-day 10-minute fitness course – you can sign up at sarahmaxwell.teachable.com/p/free10minutefitness 

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