Fitness is pretty easy if you’re a healthy, able-bodied 20-something. There’s a world of patented high-intensity workouts, Tough Mudder-style obstacle courses, pseudo-military PT sessions, and sweltering hot yoga sessions to get you into the kind of shape you want to be in. As you get older, however, it’s possible that you might find yourself less thrilled about the prospect of doing burpees until you vomit in a CrossFit session.
Of course, if you feel great in your old age, there’s no reason you shouldn’t do all kinds of ridiculously intense training. Jack LaLanne, for example, towed 70 rowboats in the water, for a mile, while handcuffed, when he was 70 years old. But if you feel like you need to hold off on the daredevil charges up Everest, that’s no reason or excuse to ditch fitness all together.
Here are some great low-pressure ways to keep fit as you get older.
Take up recreational walking
Walking is a far more effective form of exercise than most people assume, and research has found that regular brisk walking can be an effective way of improving cardiovascular fitness, and related health markers.
Walking is a form of exercise also associated with improved mental health and well-being, especially when done in natural environments. A walk can be done at just the right pace for you, and it isn’t likely to trigger a cascade of stress hormones that can have a negative effect on your health in other areas.
Walking through deserted or wooded areas is typically best done with a partner or group, for companionship and safety, and this kind of walk can also become a great social event.
Join a Hatha Yoga class
Yoga is an ancient physical art, which has a great number of benefits and applications. Depending on how it’s done, yoga poses can either be held for prolonged periods of time to develop muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness, or they can be done in somewhat faster, recurring sequences to stretch out muscles and relieve imbalances and tension on joints.
There are many different types of yoga class you could choose to get involved with, but Hatha Yoga is generally a pretty safe bet, and typically consists of a run-down of the basic poses, with a moderate degree of intensity.
Good yoga instructors will typically have props on hand to help you navigate the poses you find more challenging, such as yoga blocks and straps.
Go swimming at your local gym
Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise for all age groups, as it simultaneously makes all the muscles of the body work against resistance, while also getting the heart-rate up, and all in a low-impact environment.
If you have niggling injuries you want to work through, and more conventional forms of exercise are a bit too rough, swimming may be the answer to your prayers.
Swimming is also another form of exercise where you have complete control over the intensity of the workout.