Are you over 50 and seeking a natural, invigorating way to boost your mood and self-confidence?
Look no further than exercise, a powerful tool often underestimated in its ability to transform our mental and physical well-being. Exercise isn’t just about keeping fit; it’s a gateway to a more dynamic, vivacious, and audacious life.
Let’s explore how incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can elevate your mood, improve your sleep, and enhance your self-esteem, especially for women in their golden years.
The Power and Effect of Exercise on Your Mood
Exercise is much more than a physical activity; it’s a mood enhancer.
When you engage in physical exercise, your body releases serotonin, a key chemical in the brain that regulates mood. This increase in serotonin levels leads to a noticeable uplift in your spirits.
You may have felt this yourself in the form of a sense of euphoria or a surge of positivity after a good workout. This isn’t mere coincidence; it’s science at work, improving your mood and combating feelings of depression.
Why This Matters for Women Over 50
For women over 50, the benefits of exercise extend beyond mood enhancement. At this stage in life, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, and ensuring good quality sleep are crucial for our overall well-being.
Regular exercise provides a natural, effective way to address these concerns. Whether it’s a morning workout to kickstart your day with positivity or an evening walk to unwind, the right exercise routine can be a transformative tool for managing life’s daily stresses and enhancing your self-confidence.
Embracing Exercise in Everyday Life
Exercise doesn’t have to include sweating buckets, screaming to enhance your energy, or muscles so sore that you can’t function – the classic definition of exercise is: “activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.”
That sounds like something you can do, right?
Exercise when you’re a woman of 50+ may mean something totally different that it meant for you in your 20s or 30s.
There was a time in my life when I swam for exercise (I was a lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor at a municipal pool) and my regular exercise was swimming 72 laps of the facility’s pool, which equaled a mile, several times a week. I did it for fitness and to keep my skills sharp for my job.
I wasn’t just paddling along, either – I pushed myself to hit a certain time per 500 yard interval. I swam 4 different strokes – front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and then an individual medley that included butterfly and sidestroke for the last round. I loved the activity, which made it easier for me to be consistent.
Choosing an activity you like, if not love, is a great way to ensure consistency. Trying to force yourself to perform an activity you dislike 4 or 5 times a week is a recipe for failure. Check out the tips below to make your exercise routine not only healthy for your physical self, but for your emotional well-being as well.
- Start with Walking: Walking is a simple, yet effective form of exercise. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a walking route. Dress for the weather, or drive to a nearby shopping mall or park, or find a nearby arboretum, scenic, or historic walk to stimulate your mind and your body. Start with 15 minutes, then increase a few minutes every other week until you reach 30 – 60 minutes per session, three to four times a week.
- Incorporate Variety: Mix in some resistance training with your routine. This not only helps in muscle building but also continues to burn fat post-workout. You can use exercise bands, dumbbells at home or at the gym, resistance bands, or kettlebells. There are well-respected companies that have entire product lines for home workouts that don’t take up a lot of room and can be put away between workouts
- Be Consistent: Make exercise a regular part of your life. Consistency is key to reaping the long-term mood and health benefits. Starting with every-other-day workouts can help prevent overwhelm, and you can advance to 4 or 5 days a week as you get stronger.
- Listen to Your Body: If evening exercises disrupt your sleep, consider shifting your workouts to earlier in the day. Take notes in your journal regarding how ‘ready’ you feel to work out at different times of the day. A morning workout might just help you prime yourself for the day, or an afternoon workout might be just what the doctor ordered to alleviate the stress of a busy day.
- Celebrate Small Victories: Each step you take is a step towards a healthier, more confident you. Every day that you exercise is a day you’ve done something positive for your body, your heart, and your life. Even 5 minutes of exercise, performed consistently, can help you build strength and flexibility. The more small victories you compound, the more progress you’ll make. Acknowledge and celebrate these moments – because your baby steps forward are STILL steps forward, and you deserve to mark and celebrate your progress.
Journal Prompts to Encourage an Exercise Habit
Use one or more of these prompts to start or deepen your personal journaling practice. Give yourself time to think about what the prompt brings up for you and explore your feelings on paper. If you need a journal, click HERE to see our available journals.
- How did I feel mentally and physically before and after my last workout or physical activity? What activities have I enjoyed in the past?
- What are the barriers that prevent me from exercising regularly, and how can I overcome them?
- In what ways has exercise impacted my self-confidence and self-image – currently or in the past?
- Reflect on a time when a physical activity significantly improved your mood. How can you re-establish that activity in your current life?
- What are my exercise goals for the next month and how do they align with my overall well-being?
Affirmations to Strengthen Your Commitment to Exercise
Read the set of related affirmations below aloud. It’s important to your conscious and subconscious mind to hear the affirmations said in your own voice. Choose one or two of the affirmations from the set to start working with. You only need one or two affirmations, used consistently, to make a substantial change in your life.
Choose one affirmation that feels easy to you and choose another that generates resistance or disbelief. The idea is to practice extending your current self-imposed limits and encourage growth.
Say your chosen affirmation loud enough for your mind to hear your voice saying the words and take notice of how you feel as you begin and as you continue your practice. Repeat your chosen affirmation multiple times a day for at least 30 days and reinforce your affirmation by writing it in your journal.
You can change your life by beginning an affirmation practice – using one or two favorite affirmations over the course of 30 to 60 days can permanently change your mindset and your life.
- Every step I take in my chosen exercise routine brings me closer to a healthier, happier me.
- I am more capable and stronger every day, and my body appreciates the care I give it through my exercise routine.
- My self-confidence grows with every workout, empowering me to live into my most dynamic, vivacious, authentic self.
- Exercise is a celebration of what my body can do and a testament to my inner strength and perseverance.
- I embrace my current level of physical activity as a joyful and vital part of my journey towards self-improvement and empowerment.