GemLife, Living Well

8 Fun Ways to Stay Fit Over 50

Energise those endorphins - Exploring the mind-body connection of exercise

Are you getting enough? Exercise that is. 

For over-50s, regular exercise – along with a healthy diet and good sleep habits – are vital, but according to the experts, we’re not doing enough of it.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows only one in three (33.4 percent) of people aged over 65 years old have met the latest physical activity guidelines.

That’s not good – especially when you consider all the health conditions that can be prevented or managed with regular exercise, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure – all chronic diseases that have increased risk of developing with age. 

 In this article, we’ll explore some of the ways to keep fitness fun, how to stay fit over 50, and how to get back into exercise if it’s something you’ve been neglecting (something we’re all guilty of at some point!).  

 And they are just some of the benefits. Exercise can boost your social connections and help you make friends too. 

8 fun ways to stay fit over 50

Life gets busy, even when you’re retired, so the key to incorporating exercise into your daily life is to make it as much a part of your day-to-day routine as possible. 

 Before you know it, it’ll be as commonplace as brushing your teeth! 

 And if you’re feeling lonely or want to make new friends – exercise also provides the opportunity to meet more people too! 

 If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some fun ways to exercise:

1. Walking

Walking can help improve cardiovascular health, bone density and is an excellent way to reduce and control your weight.  

 Walking can be done solo or in groups and is a great exercise for people of all fitness levels. 

 Because of its low-impact on joints and muscles, it’s beginner-friendly too! You can step it up a bit as you get fitter. 

 Many GemLife resorts have social walking clubs, where residents come together for fun morning walks before catching-up over a good cuppa. 

Woman smiling on a walking track.

2. Water aerobics

Water aerobics is great for strength and balance!  

 Water aerobics is an excellent no-impact way to build your fitness level while having a good time with friends. Classes tend to focus on balance, strength, stability, mobility, and coordination. 

 Classes are held at GemLife’s indoor magnesium-infused pools, which are designed to help relieve alleviate aches and pains and soothe your skin.  

3. Lawn bowls

Lawn bowls is an enjoyable and social way to improve your fitness and coordination. 

 The game is perfect for those looking for something competitive or those in pursuit of a fun social activity to do with friends. 

 GemLife resorts are equipped with state-of-the-art championship bowling greens, so there’s no need to pay expensive membership fees or travel to other clubs.  

 Most resorts play social and competition bowls, so whatever your pace, there’s something for everyone.  

4. Travel

Travelling is a way of getting up your steps and lowering your stress.

There is even research that shows travel leads to better health for people over 50 (what are you waiting for?!)

Exclusive to residents, GemLife offers a fleet of upgraded Jayco Conquest DX motorhomes under the GemLife Explore program, for rates well below the market – making exploring Australia so convenient! There’s even a pet-friendly motorhome for those who love to travel with their canine family members!

GemLife homes are designed with a lock-up and go lifestyle in mind. Secure, gated communities with boat and caravan storage available, make it easy to hit the road when adventure calls, without having to think twice about home maintenance and safety.  

Learn more about travelling in retirement here.

5. Dancing

If you enjoy dancing around your lounge room, why not sign up for a dancing class? 

You might even find what you’re looking for in one of GemLifes spacious ballrooms! Dancing is a great way to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing without feeling like it’s a chore. 

6. Yoga

Yoga for the over 50s is a wonderful way to stay active, while maintaining strength and wellbeing. Yoga, in conjunction with an anti-inflammatory diet, can help with heart health, brain function, mood, and mobility.  

Learn more about how residents embrace yoga at GemLife here.

Keeping fit and flexible - Yoga for mind, body and spirit

7. Golf

Whether it’s at a nearby golf club or at a golf simulator in GemLife resorts’ country clubs, golfing is a terrific way to stay fit and improve muscle tone and endurance. 

Learn more about what GemLife Pacific Paradise resident, Glenn thinks of GemLife’s golf simulators here.

8. Pickleball

Pickleball is the latest craze to hit Australia and GemLife over-50s lifestyle resorts! A paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, pickleball is attracting multi-generational interest because it’s easy to play for all levels of abilities, and very social. It’s a game that everyone from grandparents to grandchildren can enjoy.  

Want to learn more? Learn more about how GemLife is supporting the Pickleball craze here.

6 tips to get back into fitness

Josh Kristenson is the Health and Lifestyle Co-ordinator at GemLife’s over50s resorts, who is helping homeowners achieve their health and fitness goals.

He also has a regular advice column popular with residents in The Gem magazine, called Ask Josh!

“Staying fit doesn’t mean gruelling hour-long gym sessions or high-intensity training. In fact, all it takes is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days to improve your overall health over the age of 50,” he says. 

 Here are some of his best tips to get fit regardless of your current fitness levels, followed by some fun ways to exercise. 

1. Stick to what you love

Josh says small lifestyle changes incorporated easily into your daily routines will help support your fitness goals whether they may be increased energy, losing weight, improved strength, or better sleep.  

 “The human body responds to exercise at any age, so it’s never too late to get fit,” Josh says. 

 “The secret behind any successful and sustainable fitness routine is motivation. If you stick to doing what you love, you’ll be more motivated and willing to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.  

 “Then you will experience the many health benefits associated with regular physical activity too such as the reduced risk of bone loss and osteoporosis, quicker recovery from illness, improved cognitive function and mental health.” 

2. Prioritise strength training

Josh says strength training is important to improve overall fitness.  

 Include exercises that target all major muscle groups.  

 Use bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, or weight machines, depending on your preferences and access to equipment. Gradually increase the weights as you become stronger.

3. Keep fit with friends

As Australians have adapted to a ‘COVID-normal’ state of being, data collected from the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing has shown that ‘mental health benefits’ are increasingly why more people are becoming motivated to exercise. 

 Fewer Australians are relying solely on sporting clubs or organised venues for exercise, with recreational walking and bushwalking experiencing a rise in participation levels.

If you’re looking for a fun, free, way to exercise with friends or meet new people – consider joining a walking group or look for bushwalking trails or groups advertised in your area.  

Female friends chatting at golf club tee box

4. Get Cardiovascular exercise

Start with moderate intensity cardio workouts, such as brisk walking or light jogging. If you already have good fitness, incorporate higher-intensity cardio exercises like running or interval training.  

5. Flexibility & mobility

Incorporate stretching exercises and mobility work. This will enhance joint range of motion, improve posture, and reduce the risk of injuries. Look at including dynamic warm-up exercises and static stretches as part of your program.  

6. Nutrition & recovery

A well-rounded fitness program also involves proper nutrition and recovery.  

 To help meet your goals, focus on healthy eating habits and a balanced diet to support your workouts.  

 It is just as important as factoring in rest, sleep quality, and recovery days. 

 This helps prevent overtraining and optimises your results. Learning more about micro and macro nutrients in Western diets will also help with your goals.  

Stay active, fit & healthy over 50 with GemLife

The best way to ensure you’re exercising regularly and getting your 30 minutes of moderate activity a day is to pick activities you find fun. If you’re over 50, do make sure those activities involve cardio, mobility, balance, and strength.   

 GemLife’s luxury over-50s lifestyle resorts boast extensive, first-class recreational and sporting facilities designed to support a fit and active lifestyle.  

 Resort facilities typically include a pool with a spa, fully equipped gym, ten-pin bowling alley, tennis, bocce and pickleball courts, lawn bowling green, ballroom and a range of classes and clubs.

Exercise should be something that you look forward to, not a chore. What are you waiting for? Find some friends, or join a group to meet new ones, and get active today!  

If you’re interested in becoming a homeowner in one of our active, over-50s lifestyle communities, please reach out for an information pack.