18 Ways Anyone Over 50 Can Become More Active

By , Betsy Ogden, Founder of The Art of Going Gray
As time marches on, joints that didn't use to ache suddenly ache, and things you used to do with ease are slightly more challenging. There's no denying that getting older can be a pain. But because you're a baby boomer, you're determined to make your "third act" purposeful and active. This is a generation of 'do-ers' and that doesn't stop as you age.
Whether working, traveling or learning a new skill, the challenge we face in our 50s, 60s and beyond is to stay healthy and fit so we can enjoy our lives and continue contributing to the world. But how? We see our bodies change right before our eyes, as our middles get thicker and our muscles get smaller. Joints creak, aches and pains are a near-daily occurrence, and injuries seem to pop up more often. We have bones to keep healthy and injuries and illnesses to handle.
What's a person to do? Instead of getting overwhelmed and calling it quits or overdoing it by hitting the gym for hours at a time, create what I call a "Moving Life" instead. In your Moving Life, activity is built in as a natural part of your day. If you're sedentary for most of the week or you've been a weekend warrior up to this point, incorporating some or all of these ideas for adding movement to your day could lead to improvements in your overall wellness.
When you create a Moving Life, you'll improve your health and keep your spirit growing. You'll become flexible to life's changes, realistic about what's possible and learn to treat yourself with grace and kindness.

Here's to Your Moving Life

  1. Walk and walk often. Walking helps control the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain.
  2. Lift heavy things. Weight training helps build muscle and burn calories, but you don't have to go to the gym—bodyweight strength training exercises can be done at home.
  3. Consider jumping on the high-intensity interval training bandwagon to improve your cardiovascular health. The popular workout also helps you burn fat and maintain muscle, plus has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
  4. Take five deep breaths every time you stop at a traffic light. You'll be taking a mindfulness break that can help control the stress hormone cortisol.
  5. Park farther away from your office, the grocery, mall or friend's house. Start thinking of the "primo" spots as the ones that give you a chance to take a walk.
  6. Get a puppy. The boundless energy of a puppy will get you out and moving every day.
  7. Work in the garden. There's nothing like digging in the dirt to soothe your soul and strengthen your body.
  8. Take the stairs. Avoid the elevator or escalator and hoof it for improved strength and endurance.
  9. Put on some music and dance! It's not only good for balance, mobility and endurance, but your mood will lift with the music.
  10. Reach up to the top shelf on your tippy toes. What's up there anyway? When was the last time you looked? Squat down to see what's hiding on the lowest shelf, too. Challenge yourself to "go low" and work up to doing it without using your hands for support.
  11. Don't stop moving when you're recovering from injury or illness. Knee problem? Exercise your core and upper body. Shoulder problem? Do some leg exercises or walking. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist to develop a program that will allow you to move without aggravating your injury.
  12. Stimulate your brain and body. Try new activities that appeal to your sense of fun like hiking, photography or belly dancing. Get out of your comfort zone and find something that makes you smile.
  13. Find an accountability buddy. Having someone to meet for a walk can help you be consistent. The time will fly by during your workout and you'll have more fun.
  14. Challenge your balance. Can you pick up a package from the floor while balancing on one foot? Use it or lose it is the mantra for balance, so work on your functional fitness a few times a week.
  15. Get down to the floor and back up again, no hands! You need strength, balance and flexibility for this and it's a skill that might come in handy someday.
  16. Play with your grandkids. Sit on the floor, push the swings, kick the soccer ball around—not only will you enjoy quality time with your cutest loved ones, but you get the added benefit of lots of laughter, too.
  17. Plan an active vacation. Sitting on the beach in the sun is great, but plan an adventure that gets you moving. Look into areas that offer kayaking, hiking or other outdoor adventures so you can see the sights while challenging your body.
  18. Don't look at your body as the enemy. Aging is an accomplishment so offer yourself some grace and kindness.
How do you stay moving in your day-to-day life? 

About the Author

Betsy Ogden is the founder of The Art of Going Gray, home of The Art of Going Gray Sisterhood and creator of the signature fitness program Pilates Gone Gray. She gives women over 50 the tools to wake up every day feeling physically fit and healthy, with energy to burn. Join Betsy’s Free 7-Day Pilates Gone Gray Challenge for daily, 10-minute workouts that will help you start a consistent exercise program and make you love the way you feel.

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DRAGONFLY631 4/14/2019
Some really great ideas Report
Super thanks! Report
PINKGLOW9 3/22/2019
perfect Report
I plan to incorporate some of these ideas. Report
I'm over 50+ and walk everywhere. I tell people, walking is not only great cardiovascular exercise, it's a great way to reduce stress too.

Also, people over 50 should not assume they are too old to try something new. I was in my late 40s when I climbed my first indoor rock wall. I take boxing and martial arts classes. I modify exercises when I need too.

It's never too late to make a healthy change ! Report
AKELAZ 12/6/2018
LOVE this blog - great ideas and great motivation. Grateful for the nudge to resist the 'age mentality' - thanks. Report
NASFKAB 11/14/2018
Great ideas Report
EMGERBER 10/19/2018
A great list! Report
KHALIA2 10/12/2018
I love to walk! Report
JSTETSER 9/26/2018
I wasn't quite ready for the $495 charge for the full 6-week challenge. I'll start with the free 6 day one. Report
JSTETSER 9/26/2018
I visited your page, and I've joined your challenge. I wish that you had a SparkTeam! Report
JEWELZEE- 8/6/2018
#1 is walking. Yes, it is! Report
PATRICIA-CR 8/5/2018
No excuses! Love it. Report
AMYRCMK 8/5/2018
Thank you Report
TCANNO 8/3/2018
I was 68 when I started this (now 74) now doing things that I did when I was 40

It works Report
BTINCHER2001 6/22/2018
At age 68, I'm the healthiest and strongest I've ever been in my life! I start my day with a Jazzercise class 3 miles away. So I bicycle to/from it. I walk or ride to the market 1.5 mi away. I walk to the post office a mile away. On weekends, I often walk to my favorite cafe 2.5 miles away. This summer I started walking to the evening baseball games 3 miles away. Movement makes a huge difference. Report
BBLUNDON 5/28/2018
i just went through the 18 and many i started years ago and some i can start now .. and one or two i don't necessarily agree with .. great article :) Report
ERICALEAHA 5/13/2018
Thanks for the ideas Report
thanks for sharing Report
Seems like these would be good for any age Report
Thanks for the tips. Report
Absolutely Report
LOVE these! Good for ANY age! Thank you! Report
Great information Report
great tips Report
My downfall is balance. Thanks for the reminder to work on it. Report
Thanks for the tips! Report
I'm pushing 70, these are great tips! Report
Great ideas. Thanks Report
Good suggestions. Report
I love this article. I am 70 and I have incorporated several of these in my life. And I definitely don't feel my age. Report
Thanks, great info. Report
Wow. Very interesting. Report
great Ideas to keep active thank you Report
Thank you for many good suggestions for women 50 and BEYOND. We aren't usually the focus of such direction!
I think one important point is to get out and see people, even if you're a bit of a hermit. Shutting yourself in can often be a sign of depression. Report
good points Report
great info Report
Great article; some of these are simple ideas that I never thought of! Report
Great article!!! Report
When I look at people in their 20-40, I see more inactive people then people in the 50-80 category. Particularly in younger kids there seems to be a lack of muscle and stamina Report
Already do most of these--especially the active vacation, which is why (most likely) I always lose weight on vacation while most of my friends/relatives tend to gain weight.

The thing I find most disconcerting in many people in their 50s and on up is that they think pain is "inevitable" and instead of getting an evaluation as to the root cause of the pain and something they may be able treat with certain types of exercise, stretching or therapy, they just pop pills and throw in the proverbial towel. PLEASE don't be one of those people. Once that attitude sets in, it is downhill all the way. Report
Great ideas. Giving myself credit for already doing 98% of these things! Report
Thanks Report
Thank you for the suggestions. It has given me some new suggestions. Report
Some good information contained in this article. Report
Good tips. Thank you Report