As a society we want to drink from the “fountain of youth” and long for ageless living but as we all also know, aging is inevitable. For me, though, the “second half” is more rewarding. It’s filled with looking forward, not backward, much more mindfulness, and yes, better fitness.
Better fitness after 50? Absolutely yes. And I am convinced you can have better fitness after 50, too – even if you are not in the fitness business like me! It is not easy. Yet, it can be simple…and then, eventually, it is easy.
A few weeks back, I was inspired by Megan Brown’s blog about the five healthiest habits she practices post 40. Several of my clients were totally motivated by it, too!
I thought I’d add a few of my post-50 practices that help me continue to aim for the best fitness I can achieve. Note I am not aiming for perfection. What I aim for is my own individual best. I am not aiming for anyone else’s definition but my own. I want to make the most of what God gave me.
1. Practice Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Like Megan said, it works, and, IF is here to stay. I’ve heard thousands of clients try so many different ways to – at the end of the day – eat less. IF provides your body the right amount of nutrition without the hassle of worrying about what you will have for breakfast, etc. Admittedly, it took months to get “into the groove.”
IF helps you take the focus of your day off of food. If anything, it helps you focus on the real reason for eating: to give your body the energy it needs to live. Period. I practice what’s known as the 16/8 IF. I eat dinner then do not eat until at least 16 hours later. My lunch is normally around 1pm. I then eat dinner around 6-7pm. If I am super hungry around 5pm, I’ll mash an avocado and eat it with previously cut carrots and peppers (being prepared ensure smarter snacking).
2. Get 8 Hours of Sleep
You can do all you want with your diet and exercise, but if you are not getting your sleep, you are not burning fat. Read that sentence again. That’s how important sleep is. Sleep is when we are building muscle, generating new brain cells, restoring our cognitive function, and also when we burn fat. Don’t let your handheld device convince you that you are burning fat right then. You burn fat when you sleep like no other time of the day.
3. Embrace Silence
I started driving in silence a while ago. No podcasts nor Hits1 Radio for my kids. Silence. I notice the beautiful people and things outside my car now that I hadn’t before. Studies have shown, and I can prove, noticing beauty and novelty reduces stress.
4. Exercise Daily…and Make It FUN
Exercise increases our cognitive function, reduces anxiety, contributes to longevity, and wards off hunger. Exercise doesn’t have to be in the gym, nor sweaty. But it must be fun so you want to continue. While of course I’d love for you to try Fitness on the Run and get sweaty, most of my “exercise” is done when I’m standing doing dishes, making dinner, or while my kids are at swim practice. Don’t’ get me wrong, I love my gym time. Yet, it’s the stuff we do outside the gym that matters.
5. Form Healthy Habits That Work for You
The absolute key to healthy living is to form or continue to practice healthy habits. Habits are those things you do every day, all of the time, almost without even thinking about it. Like the route you take to get to your work / kid’s school / friend’s home, a habit isn’t short term. It is something you always do. Mine is going to bed by 10pm and awakening by 5am.
Habits are the foundation for being fit. Being fit is a habit, not a trend or fad. It is lasting, sustainable, and achievable.