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6 Tips to Safely Get Back into Exercise, Even if It’s Been a While!

It’s been a while since you have been in a regular exercise routine, life was busy. But you are tired of feeling blah, tired of a few extra pounds especially in the middle, tired of the laundry list of aches and pains, and tired of not feeling like yourself!

As a personal trainer who helps women over 55 to build strength and confidence in their body, get rid of stubborn pounds and aches for good, and gain vitality to enjoy all of life’s adventures, I’ve helped hundreds of women to get back into an exercise routine safely and stick with it so that they can feel stronger, healthier, leaner, and have more energy.

Getting back into an exercise routine is absolutely doable, these tips will help you to start safely and stick with your new program! 

#1: Start Slowly

If you haven’t been active in a while and you aren’t feeling great about your body and your health, it can be really tempting to push yourself to make up for lost time and help you see the results you want quickly. But pushing yourself too hard too fast is the #1 recipe for disaster. This will only put you at risk for injury and burnout.

If you push yourself to the extreme, it’s so much harder to build a lasting habit of exercise. You can always build up intensity as you continue your workouts, but if you push too fast and injure yourself or are exhausted from your workouts, you won’t be able to continue. Start with a light to moderate intensity and gradually increase your intensity with your workouts. 

#2: Focus on Technique

Focus on proper technique with your exercises as you get back into your workout routine. Proper form will help you get the most out of your workouts but also help to prevent injury. Starting with the right form from the beginning is important to allow your body to develop muscle memory of the correct technique.

Working with a personal trainer, especially one who knows how to work safely with women over 50, is one of the best ways to ensure you have the right technique and will get the most of your exercise routine.

After working for years in Physical Therapy and with years of experience of working as a personal trainer I have heard my share of horror stories of personal trainers who are not experienced to work with women over 50, be sure to ask for recommendations and find a specialist. 

#3: Mix it Up with Strength, Cardio, and Yoga!

After 55, our bodies need the right mix of exercise to help build and keep muscle, keep our joints healthy and mobile, keep a healthy weight, and give us the energy we need for each day. Developing a workout program that includes 2-3 days of strength training, 2 days of interval training, and a few days of yoga or flexibility work is the best balance to ensure you have the strength, mobility, and energy you need.

Members of my virtual fitness coaching programs at Vitality Fitness and Wellness have found that our programs combine the perfect mix of strength training, cardio interval workouts, and balance and mobility through yoga to help them feel stronger, healthier and with better balance and more energy each day.

As we age, our body naturally loses muscle mass in the process of aging. This can cause joint aches, more pressure on the joints causing arthritis, and making it harder to keep a healthy weight. Be sure to include at least 2-3 days a week of strength training focusing on the most important muscles such as glutes, hip abductors, quads, and mid back muscles.

Pick 1-2 exercises that focus on each muscle group and do 3 sets of 8-15 reps. Use a resistance: weights, resistance band, or your body weight that gives you a challenge by the last few reps but you are still able to maintain correct form. 

Check out this quick exercise snack for a good strength workout:

Add in a few days of cardio activity that you enjoy – whether it’s biking, swimming, walking, jogging, dancing, kayaking, or hiking. Finding the exercise that you enjoy will help to ensure you stick with it!

To get more out of your cardio in less time and improve your cardiovascular health, try interval training. Warm up for 5 minutes followed by 10-20 minutes of exercise. During the 10-20 minutes move between 30 seconds of more intense movement followed by 60 seconds of recovery with moderately intense movement. Complete your workout with a 5-minute cool down. 

Strive to get your more intense workouts done earlier in the day. As a woman in midlife, getting your workouts in earlier in the day can also help to be sure your workout does not disrupt your sleep. 

Yoga and flexibility exercises are also an important part of your workout routine. Yoga comes in many forms; you have to find the right flow and pace that you enjoy. Yoga can help with mobility and flexibility as well as balance and help to reduce stress. 

Check out this quick yoga routine to help improve your mobility, balance, and energy:

#4: Build in Recovery Days

When getting back into exercise and once you’ve built a good exercise routine, you need to build in recovery days. You can move everyday but some days should be less intense than others. Your recovery days could include walking, light gardening, golfing, gentle yoga or stretching.

They could also include an easy swim, an Epsom salt bath, or even foam rolling, or massage. Giving yourself recovery days helps you to avoid injury, gives your muscles time to recover, and can even help to regulate your hormones. 

#5: Don’t Expect Results Immediately

There is no exercise fairy. Results take time and consistency. I can’t count the number of women I’ve chatted with or seen posting on social media about how frustrated they are with their progress with their exercise routine – but they’ve just started a few days or weeks ago!

Be patient with yourself and be realistic that results take time. One of the first results you can expect to feel within a few workouts is to have more energy, then typically you will start to feel stronger in your body and your clothes will fit better sooner than the number on the scale will move. Your results will come if you are doing the right mix of workouts and at the right intensity for your body, keep going! 

#6: Be Consistent! 

Try to stay consistent with your workout routine. Schedule your workouts in your calendar like the most important appointment with yourself. Use habit stacking to stay consistent. Pick a habit or routine that is already part of your day and do your exercise immediately following that routine, such as immediately following brushing your teeth or taking your shoes off from getting the mail.

Linking your new routine to a consistent existing habit will make it easier to stick with. Try listening to your favorite podcast or watching your favorite show only while exercising so you are looking forward to exercise and your favorite things.

Try not to miss a week or two of exercise because it can feel harder to work out and make it even harder to get back on track and get back into the habit again. Find an accountability buddy to keep you motivated.

Working out with a coach or personal trainer is one of the best ways to safely build an exercise routine and stick with it to see the results you want! I’d love to support you with my Free 5 Top Secrets to Thrive After 55 Workshop on January 25th.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you tried to build a new exercise routine? How has that worked for you? Do you think it would be helpful to attach exercise to a habit that you already have? What other tips have helped you on your exercise journey?

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Thank you


Hi Lori, so glad you found the article helpful!


Loved loved this! As a person that has had a lot of escalation of both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, pain has slowed me way down. This perfect snack not only was do-able, it did not scare me away. The yoga video was so nice and felt calmer and steadier. Thank you!


Hi Jennifer! So glad the article was helpful for you and that you enjoyed the yoga video! Hope I will see you at my workshop in January!

The Author

Aubrey Reinmiller is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, and Functional Aging Specialist focused on helping those over 50 to reinvent aging! She offers online small group and private fitness solutions through Aubrey authored Reinvent Aging: The Over 50 Fitness Guide to Improve Energy, Strength and Balance.

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