The Importance of
Being Active after Age 50
I have always made exercise a priority, even before I started filming Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta and before my breast cancer battle. Truth be told though, I really have to push myself every single morning to get up and work out. I’m not one of those people who loves to exercise (or to get up early for that matter); but when my workout is over, I’m always really happy that I made the time.
Like many people, I get really intimidated in a gym environment, so I work out at home. Believe it or not, I can be shy!
I’m pretty consistent with my exercise routine: I spend 20-30 minutes on cardio, tone and strengthen using light weights, and then get down on the mat and work on my core. This consistent routine works for me, but it was a struggle getting back into working out after my mastectomy and reconstruction. The surgeries and treatment left my body pretty depleted, and I struggled working out with a weaker body.
But after breast cancer treatment, I realized just how important daily exercise is for recovery. Cancer treatment has been known to cause bone density loss, which made rebuilding muscle mass and weight training that much more important. Combine our body’s natural changes due to aging with the after effects of breast cancer treatment, and exercise becomes such a necessary part of our daily routine.
Not to sound depressing, but as we age, everything just naturally starts to slow down. Our metabolism becomes sluggish, our bones weaken and become more brittle, and our cardiovascular system works harder against stiffening blood vessels and arteries. That doesn’t include all the changes we start seeing in our teeth, skin, eyes and digestive systems. Incorporating moderate exercise into our daily routine, no matter what age, has so many essential mind and body benefits for our health and overall wellness. In summary, it’s important to get you butt moving!
I’m not a fitness expert or a personal trainer, and no matter what stage you are in your personal fitness program, always make sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new workout routine.
To get you started, here are some tips for incorporating daily exercise into your life:
- Outdoor Activity – Getting outside for a long walk, run or hike is the cheapest and easiest form of exercise. If you’re just starting out, stroll around the neighborhood and slowly build up your stamina. When you’re ready, go longer distances or pick up the pace. If you’re more advanced, try hiking with a friend or join an age appropriate running group. The fresh air and heart pumping cardio with do you a world of good!
- Yoga and meditation – I love the mind/body connection that comes with yoga and meditation. For beginners, take an introductory yoga class that focuses on teaching the basics. You’ll get a work out while also improving your flexibility and strengthening your core. The meditation aspects of yoga have so many additional wellness benefits, it’s so helpful to occasionally quiet the mind and refocus our energies.
- Swim classes – Swimming is great for people of all ages, but for older adults and cancer survivors, swimming is an excellent activity. The muscles we use in swimming can actually improve flexibility while also toning and strengthening with each and every stroke. Swimming laps in the pool is great for maintaining heart health; even a couple of minutes in the pool has tremendous health benefits. The water is also easy on the joints, which is crucial for arthritis suffers. If solitary laps aren’t for you, sign up for a water aerobics class at your local community center or YMCA. You’ll get in a great workout while making new friends.
- Get a pet – I adore my puppy Chloe; she has brought our family so much love and companionship. She has also unintentionally become such an important part of my daily exercise routine. In the morning after I work out, I take Chloe out for a really long walk. At night before I go to bed, I take her out for another extra-long walk around the neighborhood. During our walks, we run into so many friends and neighbors, I often times see our outings as more social than active! Having a pet is a great way to be social, have fun and stay healthy.
Whether you’re just starting an exercise program after cancer treatment, or you’re looking to add more activity into your daily routine, I’d love to hear from you! Share your work-out regiment in the comments.
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