Being 50 years old is no excuse to clamber onto a couch and sink into a lifestyle fueled by soap operas and snacks. The aging process brings about numerous physiological changes, including less-flexible muscles, sagging skin, slower metabolic processes and weight gain, writes Cecilia Kilpatrick in "The Southern Illinoisan." Other changes might include bone deterioration and less efficiency in your heart. Getting motivated to get in shape and stay healthy is crucial to help alleviate or prevent some of these problems.
Share Your Story
Connecting with other people can help motivate you to get in shape, wrote Ann Brenoff in "The Huffington Post." This is especially true if you are just returning to a fitness and nutrition regimen after years spent developing a career or raising a family. Support from peers can help keep you motivated. You might start a blog tracking your progress, or simply tell your family that you plan to go for a jog after dinner. Sharing your story with others can help hold you accountable – family members might raise an eyebrow if they see you headed for a second helping at dinner instead of jogging once you’ve made the announcement. If you’re posting your exercise plans, pounds lost or photos of your new gym wardrobe to a blog, followers might post positive feedback, questions or encouragement that helps keep you motivated.
Choose Your Professionals Carefully
It’s often helpful to take fitness classes or work with a personal trainer to boost your exercise efforts. But choose these professionals carefully. In a 2012 "Journal of Physical Activity and Health" article, Frederiki C. Moustaka writes that middle-aged women received fitness instruction based on two different teaching styles. One teaching style emphasized improving self-determination and autonomy in sustaining fitness efforts, while the other teaching style focused less on intrinsic motivation. Select teachers and trainers who encourage you to work harder, to feel proud of your efforts and who teach you the tools for managing your own fitness goals so that you can feel empowered and motivated to get in shape.
Examine Your Extrinsic Motivations
An extrinsic motivation is an external reason for doing something. For example, at age 50 you might want to lose weight, prove to society that you’re not getting older or fit in with friends who never seem to step off their treadmills and elliptical machines. While these motivations might work for you, research shows that extrinsic motivations can lead to tension and pressure. Comparing yourself to other women your age can be a losing battle; someone will always seem to be thinner, more toned or more flexible than you. You don’t need to dismiss or downplay extrinsic motivations, but try to keep your focus positive.
Check with Your Doctor
Sometimes a reality check about your health can provide motivation to get into shape. Carrying extra weight and the natural aging process can reduce your overall health, but exercising and eating right can help counteract these potential problems. Susan Krauss Whitbourne writes in "Psychology Today" that exercise can reduce blood pressure and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Your immune system will improve, you’ll build muscle mass and you can decrease the risk of osteoporosis through exercise. Getting in shape can also help you sleep better, have more energy and maintain your sex drive.
- The Southern Illinoisan: What Happens to a Woman's Body as She Ages?
- Huffington Post: How This 52-Year-Old Went From Couch Potato To Half Marathons
- Journal of Physical Activity and Health: Effects of an Autonomy-Supportive Exercise Instructing Style on Exercise Motivation, Psychological Well-Being, and Exercise Attendance in Middle-Age Women
- International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity: Exercise Motivation: A Cross-Sectional Analysis Examining its Relationships with Frequency, Intensity, and Duration of Exercise
- Psychology Today: 19 Reasons to Exercise