Getting fit at 50

I’ve now been 50 for almost 4 months and I’m fitter than I’ve been for years!

Let’s not pretend that this is an easy thing for many people to achieve; I’m currently in the enviable position of being able to fit in lots of exercise as and when I choose.  Even if I was busier with work I would still be able to fit exercise around what would, largely, be my own working timetable.

However with the luxury of time that I’m currently enjoying I am taking the opportunity to engage in all sorts of different exercise, such as:-

  • Weekly netball (Back to Netball at Fareham Leisure Centre – I’m also thinking of going along to Fareham College on a Tuesday)
  • Twice weekly Sh’bam classes at Fareham Leisure Centre (with Jo Gentles – fitness instructor with masses of personality!)
  • Bodybalance (a mix of yoga, pilates and tai-chi – the hardest class for me as I’m so inflexible..)
  • LBT once or twice a week
  • Interval training on the treadmill in the gym
  • Individual toning workouts in the gym
  • General walking
  • Fitbit challenges to encourage me to keep walking!

I started back at the gym back in November when I concentrated on a training plan (there are dozens available on the EveryoneActive app – free with membership) in the gym.  I also discovered that there was a back to netball session running at the leisure centre every Wednesday evening.

I was going to the gym 2 or 3 times a week plus netball and really enjoying it, but I would feel guilty if I couldn’t get my training session in as expected so felt under a little bit of pressure as I don’t like to ‘fail’, and this is what I felt I was doing (I know that’s irrational, but that’s just me – if I set myself a goal I really want to achieve it).

I hadn’t considered group exercise classes as I hadn’t done any for about 20 years, maybe even longer, but in the new year I decided that I should give it a go.  I don’t know what I was worried about!  There is a huge mix of age and ability in these classes and you complete it at your own pace – some older ladies are still jumping around at the end while many of us have gone back down to the basic step as we’ve had enough!

I started with an LBT class with Karen.  It turned out that Karen was standing in for a couple of week for Jo who was convalescing after an operation.  Even though LBT classes are really full on I enjoyed the class enough to go back!  I’ve even continued when Jo returned and I found myself having to do step for the 1st half hour or so (I hate step!  I’ve got used to it now though and Jo’s aerobic sessions are even harder work!!)

Following this success I attended my 1st Sh’bam session with a couple of friends on the following Monday evening.  Jo Gentles runs both theMonday and Thursday classes and she keeps us going with her encouragement, exhortations that she thinks she’s the only one turned up to the party and general verbal diarrhoea (her words not mine)!  Jo works us really hard and I love her classes – I’ll admit I wasn’t sure at first but she’s completely won me round.  And I love an instructor with attitude and personality – don’t ever change Jo!!

Sh’bam is a dance based exercise class and is so much fun.  There are evenings when I laugh my way through my attempts at doing all the moves (especially the Hairspray routine!), but I always work hard and enjoy myself.  So much so that I soon added the Thursday morning class to my exercise timetable.

And finally I decided to have a go at BodyBalance as I am not flexible at all and felt that I needed to do something to turn this around.  This is a much slower paced class; a mix of tai-chi, pilates and yoga where you are teased into poses which you hold and are intended to stretch, twist and balance.  It’s so hard!!!  But, although I am seriously rubbish at getting into many of the poses, I am improving and can do things that were impossible for me at the beginning.  Small steps and all that – I’ve even bought myself a yoga mat…

For a while I didn’t go in the gym itself very much at all, but this week I returned to do some interval training on the treadmill and some toning workouts using the resistance machine and gym ball (I also have one of these at home).  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I am now able to push myself in my interval training to run my ‘fast’ sections at increasing increments starting at 6mph.  Before Christmas I thought I was doing brilliantly well if I got up to 6mph for 30 seconds at the end of my session – I’m now getting up to 7mp at the end of my session.  8mph here I come??!!

On the back of this I went out for my first outdoor run in months earlier this week.  I managed to run a mile and a half in just over 18 minutes – including back up the hill a little.  This has given me the confidence and belief that it won’t be too long before I actually run a full park run!  I’m expecting to get out there to do one within the next couple of weeks – hoping to achieve a massive PB when I do 🙂 (To be fair I’ve only run it once and it took me 46.01 – so if I don’t do a massive PB I’ll be really, really disappointed!)

And finally I must mention my back to netball sessions.  If I could only continue with one of my activities it would be netball on a Wednesday evening.  I’m loving it.  You can just go along each week for a bit of fun and a game or you can take it further and join and team, meaning further sessions elsewhere throughout the week.  Maggie is another inspirational instructor and there’s a really nice core group of ladies who go along.  The other bonus is that you just turn up, pay your £3 and join in 🙂

My whole point in this post is that you’re never too old to get back into exercise, or indeed to make a start.  I feel so much better and that I can do more.  I don’t think twice about going for long walks and actively seek out exercise!  And yes, I have lost some weight – for the last month or so I’ll admit there has been a slight upward blip but I’m still well over half a stone lighter than I was at the beginning of the year, so I just need to get back on it properly now 🙂

So get out, get exercising.  Although I do use the gym you don’t need it – just a bit of motivation and you’re away.  Good luck to anybody who’s starting out on their own journey 🙂

Author: MandoraTheExplorer

Having given up full-time work we currently work a year to travel for 4-5 months, and we're hoping to continue this until we can retire properly! Currently living, and loving, life to the full :)

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