At my first Jazzercise class in 1979, I walked into a big gym at a local recreation center. There stood several women wearing all kinds of fitness outfits, varying in age. I wore a black leotard and black tights, and noticed that most women in black leotards and tights were in the very back row. That’s where I planted myself.
I stayed in the back row for six months, then branched out. I traded my black tights and leotard for colored tights and a red leotard, with the word “Jazzercise” printed down the side. I moved up to the third row. My confidence soared. I was falling in love with the program.
After eight months, I was in the front row, wearing the brightest leotard and tights. The instructor approached me and said she noticed how well I moved, and recommended I become an instructor. I didn’t even blink! I auditioned, and have been an instructor ever since.
We all know how vital exercise is. The benefits are endless, from boosting your immunity to bettering your mood. Exercise makes you “feel good about you,” which outshines anything else.
Wanting to Exercise but Wondering Where to Begin?
If you want to begin an exercise program, but don’t know where to start, let me offer some tips to help you.
You may ask yourself, How do I start to exercise at my age? How do I do it if I have an injury, arthritis, joint pain, or heart disease? How do I deal with the fears (like being in the back row black leotard group)? These are legitimate concerns for the 50 plus crowd. But remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, and no one is ever too old to start exercising.
Here Are Some Tips to Help You Get Started
- Speak with your doctor for medical clearance. Inform them of the specific program you want to do.
- Next, set a goal for how many times a week you want to commit to working out. Wear comfortable clothing that breathes. If you are uncomfortable, you are more likely to stop exercising.
- Since most people are still under the stay-at-home mandate, you may take a virtual class or session. Exercise in a room where you can move safely.
- Track your progress in a journal. Once you see your growth, you will be encouraged to continue working out — and look forward to it.
Types of Exercise to Incorporate into Your Routine if You’re Over 50
- Cardiovascular exercise is a must. It protects your body against weight gain, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
- Strength training is essential, as well. It increases your metabolism and helps relieve back and arthritis pain. It also improves your quality of life by lowering blood pressure and managing depression.
- Flexibility should also be at the top of your list. Stretching every day will keep your joints supple and flexible, and reduce stress.
- Balancing exercises are also important. Find a sturdy chair, hold onto it, and try standing on one foot for a small amount of time daily. Before you know it, your balance will improve.
- Walking is the best medicine. Go out and take a walk, get some fresh air, and capture that beneficial Vitamin D.
Get out of that “back row” mentality, be bold, and join in. You will bloom physically and mentally!