Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

55 isn't too late to get in shape

Getting in shape at 55 is doable, just follow this advice. (
Getting in shape at 55 is doable, just follow this advice. (

Q: At 55, I haven't exercised since high school. How do I start getting into shape?

A: There is no better way to maintain good health in later life than exercise, and it's never too late to start. As you grow older, you lose muscle mass and there's a decline in your metabolic rate, the energy you expend. Aerobic exercise has consistently shown to lead to many health benefits, including weight reduction, lower blood pressure, lessening of chronic pain, and improvement in mood and energy levels. People who are least active now have the most to gain from getting started.

Before starting an exercise program, talk to your doctor; if you have certain risk factors for heart disease, you may benefit from a stress test to assess cardiac risk. Guidelines encourage 150 minutes, or 2½ hours of aerobic exercise a week, such as walking, swimming, or cycling.

Find an activity that interests you and map out a plan to spend a half hour being active five days a week. Even daily activities - such as gardening, household chores, walking the dog - can help.

More coverage
  • 5 fitness tips for those 50 and older
  • Why women over 50 shouldn't scrimp on strength training
  • Here are some fitness tips to start exercising:

    • Seek the help of a fitness expert.
    • Look for ways to fit in fitness whenever you can.
    • Warm up before exercise and stretch afterward.
    • Make proper form a priority.
    • Modify moves that cause discomfort.
    • Add strength training to your cardio routine.
    • Know when it's time to make a change and increase the amount of time or difficulty of your exercise. 

    Mercy Health System offers a free online heart risk assessment at

    Dr. Strimel directs cardiology at Mercy Suburban Hospital in East Norriton, 610-292-6520.


    Dr. William J. Strimel For The Inquirer
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