Anyone, any ability, anytime

Posted on: 27 June 2017 by Eloise Craven-Todd

Getting fit after 50 just got a whole lot easier and it's not a challenge you need to face alone.

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It has been said time and time again that staying fit after 50 improves energy levels, helps fight against ageing symptoms – including the menopause – and that it can have a positive effect on mental health, so why isn’t everyone jumping on board? Well it isn’t always that straightforward, maintaining a healthy fitness routine is all well and good if you’ve been active for years but making changes to a daily routine, diet and approach to exercise can be incredibly daunting and doesn’t happen overnight.

Small changes go a long way

This notion that there is no quick fix is very important but rather than focusing on the long-term goal or having your mind set on a scale figure, making small changes every day is far more beneficial and you’re more likely to stick to it. Ultimately this is not a challenge you need to make alone. I find keeping fit a very social activity, always choosing to surround myself with a motivational environment and I know I certainly work harder when I feel part of a team.

This idea of working together to reach those healthy lifestyle goals is a concept Anytime Fitness promote amongst their members. Upon joining, each member is helped in making a personal and achievable plan to work from and with a range of classes and one-to-one guidance offered, making those small changes is suddenly much easier to adopt.

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Try something new

It’s important to enjoy workouts and challenging yourself to try something new is a great way to make a workout fun. I went along for a box fit class at Anytime Fitness in Ladbroke Grove, this is something I’ve never tried before and having very little hand-eye co-ordination, I was very much out of my comfort zone. However, all fears vanished walking into the studio. My class was filled with a range of ages, sizes and ability and, after chatting to a few other novices I didn’t feel so alone in my boxing endeavour.

It probably goes without saying but boxing is a fantastic stress reliever, challenging any negative energy into your partners receiving pads is certainly satisfying, but box fit is also a very effective workout. Nick Vines, a Fitness Manager at Everyone Active informs “It’s a whole body workout that builds on strength and involves every muscle in the body. As women get older, they lose muscle mass. To build up speed, endurance and to keep your body healthy, it needs to be strong. Boxing is the perfect exercise for achieving all of these.”

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Mix up workouts

As with any successful exercise regime, variety is important. I for one get rather bored repeating the same exercises and need variation throughout the week if I am to keep up my motivation. To achieve this I try and book onto classes as early as possible so I can plan my week ahead. I find actually committing to a class the hardest part but once I’ve booked, I tend not to cancel.

Keen to try out more classes on offer at Anytime Fitness I signed myself up for a Sunday morning HIIT workout. High-intensity interval training certainly sounds series but like all routines, it’s broken down into much smaller segments. You work hard but in very short bursts and by doing so the class certainly flies past.  Once again welcomed into the class, there was no time wasting as we jumped straight into a quick fire warm-up using every part of the body. Once warm the music was turned down and each exercise was explained to ensure the tasks were performed properly and without injury. The exercises themselves were straightforward – we’re taking jumping jacks, lunges and burpees – so any ability is able to partake effectively.

Getting fit in later life is challenging and Personal Trainer Chris Simon, who works a lot with over 50s clients, explains this is partly due to the lactate threshold reducing and that the amount of oxygen needed to complete the exercise is not being reached, resulting in the individual gasping for air. “However, with High-Intensity Interval Training' you are able to regulate your training while not exceeding your aerobic capacity or lactate threshold," explains Chirs. "You can perform resistance training at a low weight for an intense period which will manage your aerobic capacity so you do not have to gasp for oxygen while exercising.” This is certainly how I felt during the class as I was able to alter and adjust each exercise to my level.

Having a varied and structured exercise plan, however, needs to be accompanied with the right diet and a positive attitude. Surrounding yourself in a motivational environment is a great way to start and attending a gym that isn’t overcrowded and where changing facilities and showers and are individual rooms, certainly sends out the right message that all are welcome and judgement isn’t tolerated. Instead, negative attitudes are replaced with a can do and supportive approach to reaching those fitness goals post 50. See for yourself how the small changes add up.

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