Many people believe that the older you get, the harder it is to develop new habits. So, for example, if you’re still smoking at 50, you’re going to have to accept that you’re a smoker for life. Here’s some good news: that is total and complete nonsense! You are never too old (or too young) to make healthy changes to your lifestyle. So, why should you believe in all of the insistence that, at some point, you just have to give up?
Part of the confusion lies in the idea that age = fragility. There is some truth to this. As we age, our bodies begin to slowly break down leaving us less flexible and physically able to do certain things. It happens to everybody. What many do not realize, however, is that you can work to rebuild your strength, stamina, and flexibility. You just have to do it with lower impact movements–depending how old you are.
In fact, no matter what your age, says Heather Jackson of Fitness 19, having smaller incremental goals is a better strategy for people who want to get healthy. This allows you to build momentum and treat your body well as you work to get it back in shape.
We’ve talked before about quick changes you can make right now to your lifestyle to introduce healthy habits. Here are a few more, broken down by age group.
If you’re in your 20s
Lucky you! You will have the easiest time of any age group to set yourself up for a long life of healthy living. This is a good time to make radical changes because they are more likely to “stick.” It is also a good time to explore a bunch of different types of exercises to figure out which are best for your personality and time schedule. Try low impact and high impact workouts. Try contact sports! Explore! And get into the habit of eating healthily for your meals, cutting back on caffeine, drinking enough water, etc.
If you’re in your 30s
For many people, physically speaking, their 30s are when their metabolisms start to shift radically downward. Suddenly you can’t eat whatever you want and not gain weight. An evening long junk food binge results in what feels like a hangover the next day. And, if you’ve let yourself get out of shape, you’ll have a harder time bouncing back. But don’t get discouraged! There are still plenty of great options for getting in shape and bettering your diet. You likely know the basics of a healthy diet already. For exercise, start with something low impact and work your way up to the harder and more stressful workouts. You can still become a champion kickboxer when you’re in your 30s; but to get there safely you’ll have to go slower than you did in your 20s.
If you’re in your 40s
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time when you need to dramatically reduce your salt and fat intake. Get your cholesterol checked and work to lower it if the numbers are inching upward. Introduce fiber if you haven’t already. Focus on heart and bone healthy diet plans. For exercise, you’ll want to work incrementally like you did in your thirties. Don’t suddenly try to run a four-minute mile. Start with a program like Couch to 5K. Hire a personal trainer to help you learn the basics of keeping yourself in shape and making sure your body is as healthy as possible.
If you’re in your 50s
If you are out of shape and living unhealthily in your 50s, you should start your health journey by paying a visit to your doctor. Turning 50 means that you are at risk for a host of issues that you weren’t when you were younger. Get a thorough checkup and work with your doctor to figure out a good diet and exercise plan. You might have to start out by simply walking around the block every day, but if you work at it, you can still compete in triathlons!
If you’re 60+
Like people in their 50s, getting healthy is a journey that needs to begin with a thorough checkup by your doctor. You’ll likely be encouraged to dramatically change your diet; you will definitely be encouraged to get some exercise. For people who are just starting to get in shape in their 60s (and beyond), swimming is the best. It is low impact and it allows you to complete several workouts at once (cardio, strength, endurance). As you build up your system in the pool, you can switch to yoga, dance, and then other harder impact workouts.
The point is this: you are never too old to get healthy. So stop making excuses and get to work!
Article Submitted By Community Writer