You were made for more! What’s holding you back from being all that God created you to be? If you’re an empty nester, you’ve already raised actual human beings, and that’s ah-mazing, when you really stop to think about it! 🙌😁🤸🏻♀️ Once the kids leave the nest, it is important to take the time to assess where you are in terms of your health and fitness. As we already discussed, that includes taking a good hard look at your nutrition and your weight and taking action if necessary.
It also includes your health! If you haven’t been to an internist for a check-up lately, it’s time to do that. (Trust me, the people who love you want you to do it.)
When it comes to your fitness level, you might be like me.
When my kids left the nest, I was forced to admit to myself that I’d been using the busy-ness of parenting as an excuse to neglect my fitness. It was time to get moving, get fit, and get strong 💪🏻.
Are you one of those people who likes to work out? I don’t. The only thing I like about working out is the feeling I get when I’m finished! 🤣 But then again, there are lots I things I do throughout the day that I don’t really like doing:
- I don’t like emptying the dishwasher.
- I don’t like folding laundry.
- I don’t like doing errands.
- I don’t like taking out the trash.
Truth be told, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking and contemplating whether or not I like doing those things. Instead, I just do them because they need to be done.
The fact of the matter is that (no matter how much you like working out), there will be days when you just don’t feel like doing it. It will be hard to make yourself do it. When I have those days, I just try to turn off that part of my brain and instead think very matter-of-factly about the fact that it simply needs to be done. (Like emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, etc.) I also try every little trick I can think of to make it even slightly 😂 more enjoyable:
- Cute, coordinating workout wear
- Watching a good show or movie on my iPad Mini (It’s lightweight and portable!)
- Varying my workout routine
- Working out with another person
Before we go any further, let me just state for the record (in case you haven’t guessed it by now 😂) that I am NOT an exercise expert! You should talk with your doctor and strongly consider working with a personal trainer or even a physical therapist (depending on your starting point) before beginning an exercise regimen.
Why Work Out?
The benefits of regular physical activity are pretty well known! But just in case you need a little reminder, let’s run down a few:
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Lowers Type 2 Diabetes risk.
- Reduces inflammation
- Boosts immune function.
- Reduces body fat.
- Keeps bones strong.
- Builds muscle mass.
- Improves breathing (No more huffing and puffing when you climb stairs!)
- Boosts energy
- Reduces arthritis risk
- Improves sleep
- Improves mood
- Reduces anxiety
- Lowers dementia risk
- Boosts memory
You were made for more, so in addition to those reasons to get fit, you need to get strong and stay strong enough to play with your grandkids, walk your dog, take active vacations, volunteer, and lots and lots more! No matter what your current fitness level, you can do something. (There are even chair workouts on YouTube if you’re movement-restricted!)
What Kind of Workout Should You Do?
Experts agree that a well-rounded exercise program should include:
Not all of these need to be done every day! You can tailor your exercise program specifically for your needs. For example, I tend to have lower back issues, so I do a few core exercises every time I work out.
Beyond that, think about the type of exercise regimen you are most likely to stick with faithfully. For instance, Bob is very routine-oriented, so he tends to do relatively the same thing every day. I like a lot of variety, so I change my workout up every single day. Today I did 15 minutes of strength training, followed by 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the elliptical, and 10 minutes on the bike!
Workout Equipment or Gym Membership?
Do you like working out with others? If so, then joining a gym might be the best option for you. Do you enjoy exercise classes? Do you find that you tend to push yourself harder when you’re working out with others? Then joining a gym or an exercise studio such as Orange Theory or SoulCycle might be right for you. Also, something like a Peloton bike or treadmill with streaming workouts might be a good option for you.
Personally, I’m not that person! I don’t like people watching me grunt and sweat! 😅 Also, um, I don’t enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells in a gym! Instead of joining a gym, Bob and I invested in workout equipment like a treadmill, elliptical, a bike, and a weight machine. If that’s something you think you might be interested in doing, here are Consumer Reports, top choices right now:
Best Ellipticals under $1000 (in ranked order)
- Schwinn 470 – $899.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods HERE or $749 at Amazon HERE (both sites ship free)
- Nautilus E616 – $999.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods HERE or $799 at Amazon HERE (both sites ship free)
- Horizon Fitness EX 59 – $549.98 at Dick’s Sporting Goods HERE or $599 at Amazon HERE (both sites ship free)
Consumer Reports said the Peloton Tread ($4295 + $39 monthly class subscription) was the top-of-the-line model currently on the market. But if you don’t have that kind of money to spend, they also recommended this less-expensive option:
Other Workout Options
If you’ve got a little room to move at your house, online workout options abound (and most offer a free trial membership). Many offer no-equipment-needed workouts. To find them, try Google or go to YouTube.
I favor the free workouts at FitnessBlender.com. It’s run by an adorable husband and wife team of personal trainers, and they offer completely free workouts for any fitness level. You can filter the workout options by duration, difficulty level, type of routine, equipment or no equipment and more. I’ve used it for years and talked about it many, many times here on Empty Nest Blessed. 💗
1. Wearable Fitness Tracker
If you don’t have a fitness tracker yet, you might consider investing in one. You’ll be surprised at how much it will motivate you! Tech Gear Lab compared 150 models, and these were their recommendations:
- Best Overall – Fitbit Charge 3 – at Walmart, Target or Best Buy for $149.95 or Amazon for $125.95
- Best “Bang for the Buck” – Fitbit Inspire – at Best Buy or Target for $79.95, at Walmart for $69.95, or Amazon for $78.98
- Best Budget Buy – Xiaomi Mi Band 4 – at Walmart (from a third-party seller 👎🏻) for $33.29 or Amazon for $35.
I use an Apple Watch Series 3 for my fitness tracker. It functions as a pedometer, tracks different types of workouts, monitors my heart rate while I work out, and it reminds me to stand once an hour all day long! Once the new Apple Watch Series 5 came out, the Series 3 models dropped significantly in price. (And honestly, not that much changed between 3 and 5!) If you’re interested in a Series 3 model, now is a good time to buy! The beginner models are $199 right now, wherever you go, and the prices go up as you add GPS and Cellular (which I highly recommend – because answering your phone on your wrist is super fun! 😁).
- Apple Store – from $199
- Amazon – from $199
- Target – from $199 (If you have a Target credit card, you’ll get an additional 5% off.)
- Best Buy – from $199
2. Workout Mat
A workout mat is a must if you’re over 50! #savetheknees 😂 This is no time to mess around, people!
The top-ranked exercise mat on Amazon is the 5/8″ thick HemingWeigh Extra Thick Foam. It’s the one I have! For a budget buy that also has amazing reviews, you might try the ½” thick AmazonBasics Extra Thick. If you don’t care about thickness, go for the ¼” thick AmazonBasics Yoga & Exercise Mat.
If you want to get stronger, you’re going to need to lift a little weight! 💪🏻 I own this dumbell set, which meets my needs if I’m holding dumbells while I’m walking, doing squats or lunges, etc. For serious weight lifting beyond that, I use the weight machine.
4. Good Tennis Shoes
To preserve your joints, you need a good pair of tennis shoes—preferably from a brand whose focus is on making shoes for women over fifty! I love all three of the brands I’m recommending and have owned shoes from all of them! (Click the pink links to head right to the sites.)
Easy Spirit ($10 off all athletic styles + an extra 15% when you join their FREE Easy Rewards program + free shipping/returns)
Aasics (25% off sale styles in their semi-annual sale + free shipping/returns with $50+ purchase)
New Balance (Currently having their semi-annual sale, so good deals abound +free shipping/returns with $50+ purchase)
Need More Motivation?
I’ve written a lot about health and fitness here at Empty Nest Blessed! To read other posts covering everything from my workouts to my “whys,” click HERE.
The workout wear I’m sporting in this post is from a company called Onzie. I bought this set at Nordstrom last fall, but unfortunately, it sold out before I could share it with you. I’ll be honest, Onzie doesn’t make the cheapest workout wear ever (nor the most expensive 💸!), but their styles are unique and really adorable. I’ve searched for Onzie workout wear on sale, and if you’re interested, here are a few spots you can check out:
- Onzie on sale at Nordstrom
- Onzie discounted at Nordstrom Rack (How cute are these leggings for under $30?)
- Onzie discounted at Zappos
- Onzie discounted at Shopbop (I love this red cheetah print sports bra and matching legging!)
- Onzie discounted at Amazon (Limited selection.)
The most important thing about fitness is to do something! Start slow. But start. Don’t think about whether you feel like doing it or not. Just do it.
You can do it! I believe in you! 💗
Coming up later this week in my Made for More series, I’m tackling some of those pesky beauty issues that drive you crazy! 😃
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Photos by Megan Weaver.