Think you are too old to move and work out? There are some definite biological differences between your 20s, 50s and 70s and of course your life is different. You may have more responsibilities and less time for yourself.
This does not necessarily mean you cannot create some fantastic gains in your strength and fitness over a period.
Setting yourself small goals to start, i.e., I will aim to lift weights/walk twice every week for the next month, will pay off in the long run as you create a habit in consistency which builds long-term sustainability in strength and fitness.
Where Do I Start?
Firstly, I do recommend you hire a good coach, either in person or online, to really guide and support you.
However, if you want to go it alone and/or have been dabbling in the gym or your chosen sport/movement and you want some real, tangible, and actionable tips to help you improve your performance, then read on.
I want to firstly start by talking about the Mind-Body Connection. We are all wired to feel; however, life can get in the way, and we forget to tune inward. I find that many mature women have been effectively tuning out of their own body for many years, and it is then my job to teach them to tune back in. This brings me to my first lesson.
Be Fully Present at Your Workout
Feel your Mind-Body Connection and trust it. Tune in, don’t mindlessly work out, feel each muscle doing its thing.
What is each muscle telling you? How does each movement feel? Does it feel like it’s working, or does it feel weird? Do you like the exercise? If not, why? Is it because it is hard? Or do you need another way of doing it? Do you need to slow down a bit?
Trust your body to know and tell you when it’s time to stop or try a different way. If an exercise feels wrong, then it may not a great fit for you, and it’s likely you won’t continue with it because it does not bring you joy.
Before Each and Every Workout
Ask yourself these questions:
1. How is your energy today?
2. How do your muscles feel today?
3. Are you tight or sore from other workouts?
4. Maybe you didn’t sleep well or your neck hurts from your pillow. How can you work around that?
5. Do you feel stressed or anxious today?
6. Are you well fed?
7. Have you had enough water?
Yes, this list is long, and why do you need to ask yourself these questions? Because THEY matter, and YOU matter.
This list of questions can be the difference between a great workout or a not-so-great workout. It can also help you to decide what type of workout you will be doing today.
Consider doing a shorter and lower intensity workout.
Consider working different muscles or changing your session up to incorporate more stretching.
Lack of Food/Water?
Not an ideal situation to go into a movement session and one that needs to be rectified quickly. Consider waiting until you can eat or hydrate. You will only end up feeling nauseated, depleted, and lightheaded.
Feel Like a Change Today?
Play-based movement is great for a change.
Grab a ball and go outside and kick it around or throw it at a wall. Even better, take your grandchild, partner, friend, dog outside with you, and throw the ball to each other.
Don’t have a ball? Try some balancing work: see how long you can stand on 1 foot, hop from side to side, and try and lift off from your non-dominant side.
You get the idea, just play and experiment. All movement is good! And don’t have any specific expectation. Just release energy by playing.
I will often schedule sessions like these into clients’ programs because they are fun but also a great way to relieve stress and anxiety, further enhance the mind-body connection and work on agility, mindfulness, and coordination.
It does not always need to be about performance!
The Starter Motor – Let’s Rev That Engine Up!
Warm up at least 10 min. Give it more time if you can, but this is non-negotiable if you want to stay in your choice of movement long term.
For mobility exercises, here is one of my favourites:
If you’re doing weight training, do the same lifts you intend to do in your session – with no weight.
Get out a resistance band and play around with it.
Do some gentle cardio like the bike, treadmill, walk, step, etc.
Make sure you feel warm and ready.
Aim for a nice steady breath without feeling huffy-puffy or feeling like your muscles are burning.
The Main Event
Now you are ready to GO!
Enjoy your movement session – and I mean really enjoy it.
It’s Cool to Cool Down
It is very cool to cool down. It is not cool to do the session then jump in your car and head home. Why? Because you just missed the best part of the whole session!
If you are doing a run/bike ride etc., aim to slow down your pace somewhat and slowly ease to a stop. It’s not great for you to go from full speed to stop in 3 seconds.
Wind it down slowly.
If resistance training, wind it down with some gentler lifts towards the end of your session.
Then it is time to stretch. This is your time to thank your body and be grateful for what it has just done. This is your time to reflect on what you just did and be proud.
Aim for at least 5 min of stretching which can also encompass mindfulness and belly breathing. Here is one of my favourites:
After Your Workout
People often tell me their muscles feel sore in a good way when describing their next day stiffness/soreness. This is when you know you have done a good workout. Your muscles may be sore but should not be over-sore or painful. You will know if something does not feel right. Tune in and TRUST your body.
And in case you do not feel stiffness or soreness it does not mean that you need to work harder or that your workout did not count.
Sometimes we have a physiological response such as soreness and stiffness and other times we don’t. There are many factors as to why you do not feel sore; however, it not being a good enough workout or you not pushing yourself enough is not one of those reasons.
You Are Everything
You know the saying, “treat your body like a temple”? Well, it’s true. We only have one body. We only have one lifetime. Be kind to your body, give back to it. Speak to it gently. Your time is NOW.
If you are looking for beginner exercises for nervous newbies, check out my free 12-week fitness plan. Feel free to download my Meant To Move online, on-demand video fitness program for free at https://meeactive.lpages.co/mtm.
Are you trying to get started with an exercise routine? What part of starting is the most difficult for you? Do you exercise mindlessly, or do you tune in to experience your mind-body connection?