by Rance Costa

Once upon a time reaching the age of 50 or 60 might as well have been a death sentence. Not only did our bodies slow down, but our self-image took the biggest blow as we lived in a society obsessed with youth. Welcome to 2010! We have more Baby Boomers and more sensitivity to being more sensible about how to start and maintain a fit lifestyle at any age. Being 50 and fit is definitely achievable!

Half a century old isn’t over the hill

I know, because I am 50, and I’m in the best shape of my life! Sometimes I can’t even believe that I have reached a half-century “young” and feel so terrific! As a fitness trainer and certified nutritionist, I am fortunate that exercise is my passion. Exercising on a regular basis has allowed me to be strong physically. The more I try and believe, the stronger I become and you, too, can climb greater heights physically, whether it’s riding your bicycle, running, hiking, walking your dog or sweating it out at the gym.

Redefining the baby boomer generation

Now is the perfect time to re-defined the “I” generation.

“I” as in Improving food plans

“I” as in Increasing workouts

It’s sensible and it works. I survived a devastating divorce and raised two sons on my own through listening to my inner voice that guided me to make eating choices which literally made me well and kept me steady when those waves of emotions fought me trying to sabatoge my efforts.

Simple nutrition for baby boomers

My nutrition advice is simple: watch your portions, ditch the processed foods, and eat organic.

1. Be generous. Instead of eating generous portions, be generous with your food! Share! Share! Share! When eating out with friends and family, be the bigger person. Take the smaller plate and slide those heftier portions onto everybody else’s plates!

2. If it’s white, it’s out! Cutting down and utlimately cutting out all refined sugar will not only make you feel better, but your skin will shine, fatigue will lessen and sleep will improve, to make you look and feel better no matter what age is on your driver’s license!

3. Opt for organic. Search the market for organic veggies and fruits. If they are not available, go fresh or frozen (you can find organic frozen fruits and veggies in some markets), not canned. Eat organic when it comes to lean protein, good fats, nonfat yogurt and whole-grain healthy carbs. These are wholesome go-to foods that will benefit all aspects of your health.

Exercise for baby boomers

Exercise is essential throughout your life, and if you are that Boomer age, exercise will make you feel just like a youngster. Consistency is the key to make you stonger with results that will make your kids pea-green with envy! (Hopefully, your enthusiasm for physical activity will also kick their butts into gear to get active, too.)

Three key components of boomer fitness

Fitness is a combination of cardio, strength training and flexibility.

1. Cardio is the sweetest six-letter word. You just have to get-up and get-moving! Don’t be afraid of it; embrace it! Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that uses your major muscle groups and increases your heart rate and breathing. You don’t even have to go to the gym to do it. Go for a walk, run or cycle, even it’s only for 15 minutes. Your fitness is on its way with this vital first step.

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2. Get strong. Strength training is another component of fitness; it will build and maintain your muscle mass while increasing your strength and metabolism. Regular strength training will keep you strong for your daily activities as well as decrease your risk of injury and age-related diseases such as osteoporosis, for both men and women. Addtionally, strength training is imperative to regulate glucose metabolism, which means it will reduce your risk of diabetes or help you control it, if you have diabetes. Thirty to 45 minutes twice a week of pushups, squats, lunges, bicep curls, tricep extensions and resistance bands is all you need. You’ll feel the results first and see the results second, so commit to it and stay consistent.

3. Stretch it out. Flexibility is the most neglected component of fitness for most people, and all you need is five to 10 minutes a day. Flexibility declines with age, and inflexibility can seriously impair quality of life, particularly for people who are sedentary. Incorporate stretching into your fitness routine, if not into your every day, to lengthen and loosen your muscles. Do some head circles and stretch in the shower and just before you go to bed, stretch those leg muscles after your workout, do 10 minutes of yoga each morning, simply stretch whenever you have a few free moments. Just remember that it is important to gently warm muscles before attempting deep stretches. Think of your muscles like taffy; when cold, taffy doesn’t stretch, but when warmed up, it is willingly pliable.

Be flexible in other ways

Being 50 has allowed me to be more forgiving of myself and now is the perfect time for you to be more self-nurturing, too. Don’t feel guilty if you miss a day of exercise. You can always catch up the next day. Don’t get dragged down by trying to drastically diet. Simply make a point to eat better every day, allowing yourself an occasional indulgence. Add variety to your life; it will add excitement and challenge and make every day much more interesting.

Being a boomer no longer means you are old and aged, it means having the opportunity to get up, get moving and get healthy.

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