If you’re over 40 and thinking about starting an exercise routine, you may feel a little intimidated. You’re not as in shape as you were in your 20s. Your joints may hurt after a long day at work. Life just may be extremely busy. Still, with the right mindset, motivation and fitness routine, exercising over 40 can be transforming and exhilarating.

Finding the Right Mindset

Your frame of mind about starting an exercise routine is key. Many of us do not make ourselves a priority. Our spouses, kids, jobs and day-to-day tasks come first, and what little time, if any, that is left is spent getting ready for bed. You have to prioritize yourself and your health. As a caregiver, one way to reframe this way of thinking is to remind yourself that by taking care of your body and your health, you increase your chances of remaining around for a long time to continue taking care of your family. Another way is to make a list of these barriers and strategize ways to overcome them. By planning in advance, you are more apt to make yourself and the need to exercise a priority.

Listen to Your Body

Your body has lived the same life you’ve lived. Whether it’s an old sporting injury from high school or a car accident later in life, you have to be aware of your injuries and limitations in order to work around them. Pick activities that your body can tolerate. Swimming, rowing and yoga all offer great benefits but are easier on your muscles and joints.

Get Social

Social support can be a very important part to exercising over 40. Finding groups with members your age with similar lifestyles and activity levels can help you stay motivated. Finding a local walking or running club for companionship can make typically solo activities a group endeavor. Join a gym and take their classes for built-in companionship. Surrounding yourself with others walking a similar path in life can truly help you stay focused on your goals.

Don’t Focus on Weight Loss

Don’t obsess over the scale. Your weight can fluctuate day to day, and if you weigh every day, you will get discouraged when the scale doesn’t move the way you feel it should. Weigh in once a week, but also focus on the other benefits of exercising over 40. Some of these benefits include sleeping better, feeling stronger and relieving stress. If you have just started out, here are five tips to keep you motivated.

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