Practicing a physical activity is essential at all ages, especially after 50. Exercising allows you to be energetic, keep your heart strong, maintain or lose weight, reduce fall risks, improve your immune system, and live healthily and for longer. Sport after 50 is also excellent for the mood and the memory, as well as meeting older people.

If you’ve never stopped running, walking, swimming or anything else: congratulations! For those who are more the couch potato kind, you’re making the right decision if you’re thinking of getting moving again. However, be careful. You need to start exercising slowly and carefully to avoid hurting yourself. Here are a few tips to help you go back to sport safely.

1. Pay a visit to your doctor

First of all, before you put on your fancy sneakers, pay a visit to your doctor, especially if you have a condition. This first step is vital to ensure that you are not going to hurt yourself. It’s also best to ask if there are any activities you should avoid after 50. For instance, lifting heavy weights or sprinting can cause injuries in certain cases. Be safe!

2. Take your conditions into account

When you’re planning your workout program, consider your conditions. For instance, if you are diabetic, you will need to coordinate your activity schedule with the time of your medication and meals.

3. Start slowly and avoid overexertion

If you are getting back into physical activity after a long period of abstinence, you’d better start slowly. A good tip is to spread your practice out across the day: instead of 20 minutes in the evening, exercise twice a day for a shorter time: 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon, for instance. You can also go to your yoga or aqua gym lessons once a week. If you’re practicing outside a class, ask your doctor’s advice.

4. Listen to your body

If you feel pain or dizzy when you are riding a bike or doing some yoga, stop immediately. Sport after 50 is not supposed to hurt. It’s best to call your doctor to check if there is anything wrong. Pay more particular attention to any pain or pressure in your chest, or if you experience cold sweats or shortness of breath.

In case your joints are red or swollen, don’t push yourself and stop your activities for a while as this could get worse if you continue exercising.

5. Warm up before exercising

Warming up as well as cooling down are important stages to include in your routine. These exercises – to do before and after the workouts – will help you prevent injuries or body aches. Take the time to start with dynamic stretches to warm your muscles. After the practice, gentle stretches will allow your heart rate to slow down gradually as well as reduce the odds of having sore muscles the day after.

6. Drink water regularly

As you sweat during your workouts, you need to drink water to keep your body hydrated and functioning well. Not drinking enough can be dangerous. Therefore, always have a bottle of water nearby.

7. Choose an activity that suits your physical condition

Aqua-gym and other water sports, Nordic walking, yoga, dancing, Tai chi, Qigong or fitness: there are plenty of workouts adapted to 50 plus people. Opt for an activity that is adapted to your condition and your preferences. Additionally, you are more likely to be motivated and stick to your routine if you practice exercises you enjoy.

8. Maintain a healthy diet

If you want to go back to sport seriously and you are concerned about your health, you also need to keep a healthy diet. What you put on your plate plays a vital part in maintaining you in good physical shape. Besides, not only does what you eat have an impact on your weight, this also can affect your mood and your sleep.

Research shows that people over 50 should include more proteins in their diet. Why? This helps them keep their muscles strong and allow their body to function correctly. Foods rich in proteins are red meat, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, soy, and beans. Additionally, nuts, seeds as well as 5 vegetables and fruits (at least) a day should also be part of your diet.

Now that you have all the information and tips to start sport again safely, what activity are you going to choose?