Even if you’ve waited until your late 40s to decide to get toned and fit, it’s not too late -- but you do have your work cut out for you. As you age, your metabolism slows, your bones lose their density and your muscle mass decreases. To achieve the results you want, you have to change your lifestyle by eating a healthy diet and exercising daily. Draw on the determination and strength that has gotten you this far in life, to get and stay fit for the rest of your life.
Keep a food diary for a few days to track your eating habits, and then continue if you feel recording what you eat will give you incentive and keep you honest.
Keep an exercise log. Use a plain notebook or fancy journal to record all of your workouts on a daily basis. This will keep you accountable and maintain your enthusiasm.
Check with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time, if you have been away from fitness programs for a while or if you have any chronic health issues.
Exercise aerobically every day to become toned and fit. A healthy adult should participate in 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderately-intense aerobic exercise. If you haven’t exercised for awhile, start off by walking briskly for 20 to 30 minutes a day. As you gain muscular and cardiovascular strength and your endurance levels grow, add different exercises to the mix -- sports you may have enjoyed in your youth or new exercises that have always intrigued you. By diversifying your workout routine, you won’t be tempted to quit out of boredom.
Strength train at least two to three days a week. If you have a gym membership, have the staff school you in the proper form at each weight station. You’ll not only get results more quickly by using the weights correctly, but you’ll avoid injury as well. If you prefer to work out at home with dumbbells, use the American Council on Exercise’s online library for instruction. Alternately, you can use your own body weight to tone and build muscle and bone mass with exercises like yoga. Take a beginner’s class, taught by a qualified yoga instructor, and then practice weight-bearing poses at home.
Change your diet to support your efforts to become fit and toned. Clear out the processed, sugary and too-salty foods from your cupboards and fridge, and replace them with high-fiber, whole-grain and fresh foods. If you enjoy dairy products, switch to the lower-fat versions of milk, cheese and yogurt. Meats should be lean, your snacks healthy -- such as nuts and seeds -- and your portions smaller. Use this opportunity to try new foods and recipes. You may find that your new, healthy diet is to your taste.
Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.