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After 50, All Roads Lead to Fitness

Want energy, good looks and a youthful attitude? Get fit!

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Woman lifting weights in gym. How to look and feel good at 50 plus. (Patrik Giardino/Corbis)

Lifting weights is a great way to get fit, and stay fit, after 50. — Corbis

For too many of us over 50, health and well-being are secondary priorities. There are plenty of reasons for that — the pressure of kids, spouses, parents and jobs (and I mean all of the above).

But if we want to live long, productive lives, it's important to do one thing immediately: Get fit.

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I believe that all roads lead to fitness when it comes to coping with the anxiety and fatigue that come with the stress of an impossible to-do list. Too often, we get overwhelmed and then do nothing. The good news: Incorporating simple changes into your life is easier than you think. I know, because I did it.

Soon after I turned 50, my mother and mother-in-law needed me more and more to do things like take them to doctors' appointments or help them with bills. Each of them developed complicated health issues, which required my full attention. Even more troubling, they were both diagnosed with dementia.

I also had my own household to run, a job to do, and daughters who were still teenagers. One of them was heading toward college, the other entering high school. My work was exciting, but because it was a new venture, it often required me to be at my computer 24/7.

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My husband, who has an equally demanding job, was starting to feel ignored. There were days I felt like I was being pulled in way too many directions. In an effort to help everyone, I wasn't helping anyone at all, especially myself.

Because sleeping enough, exercising daily and eating well had come to seem like indulgences, I became genuinely worried that I wouldn't have the strength and stamina to do the things I had to do, or the things I wanted to do. Sound familiar?

Next page: My plan — and yours. »

Video Extra

LET'S GET PHYSICAL: Think you're too old to run? Or maybe you'll hurt your knees? Think again.

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