In the not-so-distant past, you were a physically active person, running daily, playing sports, and engaging in activities can make you cringe just thinking about them.
You were able to eat whatever you pleased without suffering any ill consequences, but these days, even a Friday of splurge eating seems to go immediately to your waist.
If you are anything like Peter Benedict St. Andrews, you are well-removed from your college days by now.
As you approach middle age, it’s important to be conscious of your health so you don’t slip into obesity like many people do.
Don’t accept this as an unavoidable consequence of getting older, because (1) it’s not and (2) the health effects of becoming overweight can dramatically increase your chances of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions that can severely impact your quality of life.
Having established that, here’s how you can stay fit as you advance in age…
1) Check with your doctor before getting started
If it has been a while since you have moved your body in any significant way, you will want to book an appointment with a doctor before hitting the weights.
If you have an undetected medical condition, putting your body under sudden stress could endanger your health, or even your life.
Depending on what is found, you will be referred to a kinesiologist who can design an exercise program that can get you healthy in a safe manner, or you’ll be cleared to proceed with your own program. Whatever the result, you’ll be ensuring your safety this way, so don’t skip this step.
2) Overhaul your diet
While most people pour the majority of their wellness efforts into exercise, most weight loss or muscle gain comes from a diet that support these goals.
The average American diet sabotages most bids to become fit, as it is chock full of simple carbohydrates.
If these calories are not directed towards immediate energy needs, they go straight into storage, stuffing your adipose cells full of carbs that have been converted into fat.
Cut out starchy foods and simple sugars and replace them with complex carbs in the form of dark leafy green vegetables and multigrain breads.
You’ll reduce your calorie count, avoid fat increases and inflammation, and increase your intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
3) Start up a resistance training regimen
As we get older, we need all the strength we can gather in order to deal with everyday challenges. As such, building muscle should be a key plank of your exercise program.
Aim to bench your own body weight, and keep beating benchmarks you set for yourself at the gym from one week to the next, and soon you’ll be outclassing people decades younger than you.
4) Go outside for a run regularly … or swim … or bike
Tired of running out of breath trying to make your bus in the morning? Start jogging, and slowly build up your long-distance stamina. Build in sprinting too, so you can increase your short-burst power as well.
Joints hurt too much to run regularly? Jump on your bike or swim laps at the pool, as these activities are much kinder to your knees and other structures in your lower body.
5) Pace yourself
If you are just getting back into the swing of things, don’t rush back too quickly. Over-training may result in an injury that can end your efforts before they’ve truly begun. Even the first workout back will have you feeling sore the next day as your body adjusts.
Take your time, hang in there, and soon, you’ll be running circles around your peers and many younger adults.