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Whether you're a couch potato who's looking to be more active, or already fit and healthy but want to look at exercises that specifically target health concerns, here are the best exercise routines as recommended by gransnetters.
Firstly, is it possible to shift weight if you're over 50? Yes, our metabolisms are slowing down and yes, the menopause does tend to lead to weight gain, particularly round the middle, but gransnetters are full of success stories. Most agree that the solution is simple: 'Eat less and move more.' But are some exercises better than others?
Most would agree that a comprehensive exercise plan will have the best results. That is one that includes cardio (running/brisk walking etc) as well as resistance training (weights, resistance bands). And remember that as in the case of all new exercise routines, you must check with your GP first, especially if you have any medical issues.
Many gransnetters swear by the 10,000 steps club. Obviously an idle amble isn't going to do as much good as a brisk walk, so to really reap the benefits you should aim to get the blood pumping and a light sweat on.
"I walk for half an hour 4 to 5 days a week but also walk to the local shop or to my daughters and the pool a few times a week too."
Pilates is an excellent core body workout and has added benefits in helping back pain and improving posture.
"I honestly thought I was quite fit as I am on the go most of the time, work 2 days a week and walk most places but by heck didn't realise how weak my core muscles are. I would recommend classes to anyone who has the time to go."
A wonderfully relaxing exercise with numerous health benefits both physically and mentally.
"Having experienced Tai Chi I can really see how beneficial it could be, as both gentle and effective exercise and an excellent way of learning to relax. Learning the sequences is very good exercise for the brain as well so I would recommend it, but try to find a class that is more suitable for beginners."
Excellent for flexibility and balance, yoga is a favourite with gransnetters, for good reason.
"I definitely feel fairly flexible and am pretty sure that yoga is keeping me healthy in mind and body."
Perfect for those who get bored easily and find listening to music helps with motivation, ZumbaGold classes are aimed at 50 plus and offer more low impact exercises with the same benefits as the original version.
"I have arthritis in my spine and hips and am a size 16 and I was the oldest in the Zumba class so don't be put off. This one is really good fun and I have released my inner Shakira!!!"
1. Find an exercise you actually enjoy doing
If you love being outside, instead of in a gym, then a brisk stroll or run around your local park or neighbourhood is the thing for you.
2. Find a partner in crime
Never underestimate the power of peer pressure. Rope in a mate, a neighbour, your daughter, or better yet, a dog! - anyone you can convince would benefit (and who wouldn't!) from a bit of exercise. Be each other's support and motivator. But do choose your exercise partner well, unlike this gransnetter.
"I have a walking companion who tops or belittles everything I say and buys 'only the best'. With that and farting as she walks, a fun Sunday morning is had!"
3. Set (realistic) goals
If you want to run a marathon, that's great, but if you currently can't walk round the block without collapsing, then it's probably not achievable in the short term. The best motivator is to achieve smaller goals step by step and then move on to the next stage.
4. Make it a habit
The secret to creating habits is making the action as easy as possible. So, if you're planning on exercising first thing, lay out your workout gear and trainers the night before. Promise yourself you'll stick to the routine for just two weeks. After that time, you're very likely to have slipped into a routine and hey presto, the exercise habit is formed.
5. Treat yourself
Clearly a piece of cake or glass of wine after each workout will probably negate all your efforts, so try rewarding yourself when you reach your goals with a new pair of trainers, a manicure or an early night with a film.
Regular gardening not only has the benefit of getting you into the fresh air and upping your Vitamin D, but it also means your outdoor space will look weed-free and beautiful year round. Just be cautious not to overdo the bending and damage your back. "I get into the garden as much as possible - also helps my light levels."
Arguably the very best kind of exercise for mind, body and spirit, looking after the grandkids is beneficial for all involved. Exhausting, yes. Rewarding, most definitely! Don't rely on the screens to keep them occupied and take a look at these wonderful ideas to keep kids entertained. You're sure to end the day happy, tired and definitely well-exercised.
If you don't do it for yourself, do it for the wellbeing of your dog. Take a slightly longer walk, try a different route, throw a ball in the park. Every extra step makes a difference.
"I aim for an hour but on a busy day may do 40 minutes. I have dogs so an hour for them is minimum really. The dogs are a boon really because I have to go out, whatever the weather."
There are plenty mores tips, advice and support on exercise, diet and fitness on the forums, so come and share your successes or challenges.
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