As a personal trainer who works with a group of baby boomers in the Vancouver, Washington area I get asked a lot of questions. One of the most common questions I hear from people is that they are a baby boomer and they want to know what the most important thing is that they should be focusing on when it comes to having a fitness plan. It’s a question that I love to answer, because it let’s me know you are headed in the right direction!
First of all, let me say congratulations! If you are asking that question it means you are interested in improving your level of fitness. It is never too late to take control of your fitness, whether you are a baby boomer or not. There are so many benefits to being active in exercising and trying to be healthy. By being physically active you can help to prevent or delay the onset of disease, help to maintain your independence as you age, improve your strength and balance, and much more. In fact, research shows that those who are active reduce their chances of developing heart disease.
Now you that you know the benefits of a baby boomer getting fit, here are my personal recommendations for getting started:
- See the doctor. You have probably heard this before, but it’s true and has to be said. Before you begin taking on an exercise or fitness program it is important to make an appointment with your doctor. You want to make sure you are physically well enough to take on getting fit at this time. Your doctor may want to do a few tests, including for bone density, as well as do a fitness assessment. This is an important step and should not be ignored.
- Focus on mobility. Focusing on mobility is important in so many areas of your life as a baby boomer. You will want to have quality movements, including engaging in daily activities that involve pain free things you love to do. This will help you prevent injury strains, tears, and pulls.
- Seek strength. Feel like you aren’t quite as strong as you used to be? You are right! It is estimated that people lose around 30 percent of their strength between 50 and 70 years old. This makes it that much more important that you engage in strength training. The loss of strength will impact your life in many ways, including in doing the things you enjoy and in being independent.
- Build balance. As people age many of them experience balance issues. Many of them are related to problems such as vertigo, disturbances of the inner ear, and falls and injuries. Having balance issues can keep you from enjoying doing a lot of things, but it can also make life more dangerous, as you will be more prone to falls. You can help improve balance by getting off the machines, do more standing movements, and engage in something like Tai Chi.
- Consider body composition. It is important to know what healthy is and what it looks like. It is equally important to have a healthy lifestyle, rather than just focusing on your diet. It’s about changing your mindset and personal identity to one that focuses on wellness and fitness.
So there are the top things that I think every baby boomer who is getting started with fitness should focus on. Once you do that, you will be well on your way to becoming fit. Whether you are in the Vancouver, Washington area, or beyond!