Is it possible to achieve major self-improvement after 50? Absolutely! Many people have made huge changes after 50. And I am not talking about retirement, divorce, or moving to a new city, although these things might be a part of the mix.
I am talking about losing extra weight and getting really fit. I am talking about changing your diet from eating junk food to eating super healthy food. I am talking about making personal changes internally from the person you became by default to the person you’ve always wanted to be. I talking about finally dumping all the unhealthy habits, bad memories, and fears and going after what you truly want.
When we were in our 20s and 30s there wasn’t much incentive to get fit, eat right, or work on personal development. After all, for the most part, we were relatively fit. The kinds of foods we were eating didn’t seem to bother us. And although we may have had some concerns about our personal development, we figured things would probably work themselves out over time.
In our 40s we started to take notice of how extra weight easily snuck up on us. We noticed that our youthful appearance was starting to fade a bit. And as far as self-improvement was concerned, we may have had more interest in it, and we did what we could, but we didn’t devote much time to it.
After 50 and beyond
Now we’re over 50. That magic number, the transition point, the summit before the descent.
I am sure that you have been just as pleased as me to hear about the recent proclamations by longevity experts that say 50 is the new 40, 60 is the new 50, and so on. I think they are right! What has made this possible are the advances in healthcare, nutrition, fitness, and access to information. The Internet has enabled scientists, doctors, nutritionists, trainers, and consumers to instantly share and access information on an incomprehensible scale.
Because of these advancements in technology, we now have cutting-edge information at our fingertips about health issues, weight loss, healthy eating, vitamin supplements, fitness, and personal development. We are also the benefactors of the New Science and New Thought movements, which encourage personal responsibility for our health and happiness.
What are the incentives after 50
So what incentives do we have after 50 to pursue self-improvement? Our motivation comes from knowing that we can enhance and sustain a higher quality of life if we make certain changes and embrace a new lifestyle.
This means eliminating unhealthy habits, losing the extra pounds permanently, adopting an exercise program, making healthy eating a lifestyle and not a periodic event, and conquering longstanding personal deficiencies.
What’s the payoff
The payoff is that you’ll look and feel so much better than you do today that you won’t even recognize the “old” you. If you go for improvements in every area that I mentioned, you will not only be more attractive, you will radiate, sparkle, and shine!
If you get your weight down, exercise, and eat right, you will have fewer health problems now and in the future. In fact, it’s possible to prevent and eliminate many illnesses by getting fit and eating a highly nutritious diet.
Do you want to sit in a dark room and watch television all day or do you want to be able to get out and enjoy life? You still have many dances left in you. Don’t give up on the idea of walking up to the plate and hitting a few more baseballs out of the park!
The brutal truth
There is no getting around the fact that the body’s ability to stay healthy and fit declines with age. However, if you are maintaining your weight, exercising, eating healthy foods, and keeping a positive outlook, you can reduce and even reverse the negative effects of aging. And most importantly, you will greatly improve the quality of your life along the way.
There is no downside to exercise, healthy living, and self-improvement. In order to stay strong and vibrant, you should be doing these things throughout your life.
Weight loss, healthy eating, and exercise cannot be periodic events. In order to be successful and reap the benefits, they must become a part of your lifestyle. In other words, they must become a habitual part of your daily life.
I’m too old and too far gone
No, you are not too old or too far gone. I don’t care what your circumstances are. You have two choices. (1) Remain in your chair and make television your life and let yourself get weaker physically and mentally as each day passes or (2) get up and begin a program of self-improvement and be dam with any thoughts that you can’t or that the exercise might kill you! So what! Your current existence is barely living anyway. Or at least you can admit that you are not living fully or as you truly want.
My inspiration before and after 50
I’ve been doing resistance training with machines and free weights for over 20 years now. For the first 10 or 15 years, I worked out at a health club. My early inspiration came from seeing people in the club who were in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and even 80’s and in great shape. They always had a sparkle in their eyes and a spring in their walk.
The older club members always left the greatest impression on me. The 20 and 30 year olds who had almost zero body fat and well-defined muscles after minimal effort did not impress me.
I didn’t want to be like those seniors I’ve seen in nursing facilities and retirement homes. I understand that there are circumstances beyond some people’s control that led them to these places. My heart goes out to them and I will never give up hope for their recovery.
I workout properly to gain maximum benefit and to avoid injury. I use the knowledge I’ve acquired to do it in a way that fits my age. But I am aggressive and I go for it!
I am well into my second half and my weight is right about where it should be for my height. I get up every day at 3:40 am and I swim 40-50 laps during hot weather months and power walk for 1-3 miles during cool weather months. If I want to drop a few pounds or lift my spirits, I also power walk in the late afternoon at sunset.
A few years ago, I put together a small, inexpensive home gym. Just before lunch, I do 23 different exercises with free weights. I do 12-24 repetitions each for a total of 420. I do these three days a week. On the other three days, I do nine (9) different abdominal exercises. I do 25-50 repetitions each for a total of 350. On Sundays, I only swim or power walk.
Here’s an estimate of how long each of these exercise sessions lasts.
- Swimming: 30 minutes
- Power walking: 30 minutes
- Resistance exercises: 20 minutes
- Abdominal exercises: 15 minutes
It took me several months to trim these sessions down to these times.
I am not telling you this to brag. I am providing this information with the hope that it might inspire people who are over 50. I’ve never been a jock. So if I can exercise like this, anyone can. I have to admit that once I added up the number of exercises and repetitions for this article I was very surprised. I thought, “I can do that at my age?” I then said to myself, “Absolutely!”
How do you get started?
The first step is to evaluate where you are health-wise. If you have any concerns whatsoever about your ability to exercise or change your diet you should discuss this project in detail with your doctor.
The second step is to establish a base point by recording your body weight and measurements. The measurements should include all the areas of your body that you want to improve or monitor. Then make a list of all the foods you are currently eating.
When you look at this information in the future, your new weight and body measures will inspire you toward greater accomplishments. The list of foods will make you cringe. 😀
The third step is to identify your goals. What are your ideal body weight, measurements, and muscle tone? Visualize in detail what you want to look like and how you want to feel. Set some inspiring goals, but be realistic.
You can’t look like you did when you were 22. But you can be an impressive looking 50, 60, 70, 80, or 90 year old. Any 20 or 30-year-old can look good with minimal effort. But when an older person looks fit and they carry themselves confidently and they dress to the 10s nothing is more impressive and attractive.
The fourth step is acquiring the information needed to achieve your goals successfully in the shortest amount of time. There is a lot of information on my sites, and elsewhere, that can give you the education you need.
The fifth and final step is to adopt a no-excuses mindset. This is an absolute necessity. As with the creation of any new habit or the elimination of unhealthy ones, in the beginning, there will be times when you won’t feel like following through on your goals.
Here’s how fitness motivation works. First, you have to visualize yourself as though you have already achieved your goal. For example, picture yourself at your ideal weight or body measurements. That will get you started. Then as you begin exercising, the motivation will gradually build. By the end, you’ll feel great! Once you start seeing the results your motivation will grow. It is important to remember that motivation does not come before you begin. It comes after. And it builds as you complete each day, week, and month of exercise or whatever you’re doing.
The initial decision to lose weight, exercise, learn about healthy food, or work on other self-improvement projects begins with the commitment or mental mantra of “no excuses!” This means no excuses to put it off, no matter how you feel or what the circumstances are.
Get yourself started by vividly imagining the person that you want to become. Then act as though you are already that person. This will give you the motivation to live up to the image and reputation that you have established for yourself.
Your life after 50 can be your best half. It’s really just a matter of choice and commitment.