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Get Fit for Dating Again After 50

Copyright © 2014 AARP All rights reserved.

You don't have to be fit and healthy to date after 50, but it sure does help if you are. If you're neither of these things, don't have to give up and think it's too late to get there. Many people start fitness regimes as late as age 70, and they find that if they work hard enough, they can have a hard body almost comparable to people 30 years their junior.

No one is saying that muscle definition is a necessary goal, but strength helps you live longer and reduces your risk of accidents. Core strength (stressed in yoga and Pilates) improves balance and supports your back, making it less likely you'll tear something or experience pain.

The payoff for exercise is so great in every category. It's a wonderful way to prepare for dating because it makes you look and feel good, makes you healthier when you do find a partner, and gives you motivation to last to extreme old age.

Doing 20-minute workouts at home

Getting fit doesn't take much time. One of the most encouraging findings of the last few years is that just 20 or 30 minutes of exercise a day contributes to a significant degree of fitness. You can spend those 20 or 30 minutes aerobic walking, weight training, jogging, or engaging in an active sport.

Just 20 minutes of exercise a day not only changes your shape but also changes your attitude. You'll feel stronger, fitter, and more confident, even if you don't lose any weight. Just think of how much better you feel about yourself if you can climb a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. If you can run or jog a half marathon, you'll feel even better!

Joining a gym and hiring a trainer

If you'd like to get more exercise and shape up some but you just haven't been able to discipline yourself to get into exercise, then consider buying some discipline. You can join a gym cheaply these days, and many classes are likely included in the price. Apartment and condo buildings, offices, and community and senior centers often offer free or affordable gyms and classes.

Or, if you have the money, consider getting a trainer to meet at the gym or come to your home. (You can get a group rate if you join up with a few friends and split the cost.) Consider it an investment in your health, because it truly is.

A trainer keeps you honest about how much effort you're putting out and also corrects mistakes of posture or muscle use that could undermine your body-shaping effectiveness and may even hurt you. Even if you hire a trainer just a few times to get your routine started and your mistakes pointed out, the investment would pay off.

Don't be scared — when a trainer compliments you, you'll feel great, and your added confidence will help you when you begin to date. There's something about being stronger and fitter than you were that does wonders for your self-image and emotional readiness.

Considering a nutritionist or a diet plan

Though someone will love you even if you're heavy or skinny, it's true that some people won't consider dating you if you're overweight or too thin. If you want to broaden your opportunities (and live longer), consider investing in yourself by consulting a nutritionist.

Most hospital plans have a nutritionist on board, and now you can find help on the Internet. You can reeducate yourself about how much protein, carbs, and sugars you should eat.

Diets have changed in recent years. For example, the new Weight Watchers program is totally different from the old one, and it's effective for many different kinds of people. Other programs exist that are excellent, some supervised by doctors for people who have diabetes and other serious medical issues to deal with.

If you've wanted to lose weight or gain muscle for a long time, use dating as the motivation that actually gets you into an online or off-line program that will foster health and a healthy weight.

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