Americans are living and working longer than ever before. When you consider that the retirement age will likely continue to rise into the 70's, you need to be prepared. For many, slowing down is not an option when you pass 50. So, why slow down?  If you're in reasonably good health, an active lifestyle and self-improvement don't have to end, whether you're embracing 59 or clinging to 29. Will you be ready to dance to your vehicle as you waltz your way out the door from work? With just a bit of consistent effort, you can be. Act Two of your life can be lived full throttle, and you can begin now!

Physical self-improvement isn't difficult if you choose methods you like. Always remember to check with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen. Once you receive the green light, look for a friend to serve as as an accountability partner to help keep you on track. Choose this person wisely. They'll need to be strong enough to push you when you're slacking off, and gracious enough to encourage you as the weight starts to fall off and your confidence level rises.

You have to move your body to keep your heart strengthened. Not quite ready for a 5K, but enjoy a brisk stroll through the park? Hit the streets. You'll find plenty of other walkers, joggers and runners offering knowing, encouraging nods and smiles. Walking on the track or treadmill are great options for beginning your body restoration. It's free, easy and the physical payoff is great. Lace up a sturdy pair of sneakers and, weather permitting, head outside. If you are a walker who likes to listen to music while training, you'll need playlists. Try assembling a playlist of your favorite tunes on your smartphone, keeping your pace in mind for your warm up, active walking and your cool-down. Just as a precautionary measure, only use your ear phones in one ear while walking (and someday, running a marathon). You want to be able to hear cars and people around you at all times.  Safety is very important when deciding to walk in your neighborhood, on a local track or in an organized walk/run. 

Jennie working up a sweat in Zumba class. Choose an activity you love and a friend to enjoy it with. You're much more likely to stick with it.

Jennie working up a sweat in Zumba class. Choose an activity you love and a friend to enjoy it with. You're much more likely to stick with it.

Identify some group activities where you can enjoy yourself and gauge your progress. Numerous organizations sponsor fun walks and charity walks and runs. These present great opportunities to walk with people with the finish line on their mind and a pep in their step. 

If you prefer training indoors, research what nearby gyms have to offer. Does any gym give you the opportunity to attend different classes on a trial bases? Depending on your goals and finances, you can plan a set of classes that will help you meet your goals and maintain your perfect weight. Consistency is key. How badly do you want it?Commit to your class times and be on time. Be sure to bring all the things  you need like a towel and water.

Zumba Thing

Dancing after 50? Were you known as the life of the party just a few years ago? Oh, yes! Polish up a few moves and hit the dance floor! You may have forgotten just how much fun dancing is. Consider joining a Zumba, line or ballroom dance class for a rhythmic way of losing weight. Exercise disguised as dance is a great way to move several parts of your body at once. You'll see weight come off and muscle tone with every dance move. Don't hesitate to try something new, like Samba or swing dancing.

Now you are working for you. Each bead of sweat is an indicator that you are loving your body and you're one step closer to achieving your set goal. So stay hydrated. This helps to restore and maintain a balance of fluids in your body. Water is best and it's necessary when exercising. Water not only protects and cushions vital organs, it also helps regulate body temperature. Hydrate before during and after exercising. Proper hydration combined with a balanced diet will help you shed those extra pounds. 

Don't allow yourself to get bored with your routine. There are plenty of other activities you can try or resume with little risk, such as bowling, hula-hooping or water aerobics. And don't overdo it, Weight Warrior. Soreness is simply a sign that you are building muscle, but too much soreness indicates that you are doing too much, too soon. Pace yourself.

Enjoy walking, dancing, exercising toward your set goal. Do not be discouraged. Rome wasn't built in a day and unfortunately, your body won't be, either. But stick with your regimen and you'll see the results you desire.  See you on the scale!

Jennie's also a wizard with crochet and knitting needles. Check out the beautiful scarf she created between walking and Zumba. 

Jennie's also a wizard with crochet and knitting needles. Check out the beautiful scarf she created between walking and Zumba.