The Power of Small Changes for Fitness and Health Over 50

Would you ever think that doing one push up a day could be beneficial? What about walking for 5 minutes? Or drinking a half-glass of water? Maybe you’ve been thinking about this fitness thing all wrong. Here’s why small changes make the biggest impact if you let them.

I fantasize. A lot. No, not THAT sort of fantasy! (Well, maybe once in a while….). What I mean is, I think about all sorts of stuff I hope to do some day, or wouldn’t it be nice if…fill in the blank.

If I were perfectly fit, if I could do 5 unassisted pull ups, if my husband and I could retire as millionaires.

Trouble is, I don’t do anything about any of it. Why? Because I think they’re too big to tackle with something small.

If I want to get fit (like, really fit), I have to exercise 2 hours a day, eat dry chicken breasts and <gag> broccoli and drink green liquids.

If I want to do the pull ups I have to be younger…or something.

I don’t know, I just know I always have lots of reasons excuses why I can’t do something.

But what if you could do something little?

What if the beginning of a lifetime exercise habit really could begin with one push up? Or one march in place?

Even if the only kind of push up you can do right now is a wall push up?

Now, that’s something to think about. And even get excited about! Making small changes is easy.

Why Most Plans Eventually Fail

You’re probably reading this because you’re over 50 and you want to get into some decent shape, or fix your crappy diet.

Maybe you’ve never exercised. Maybe you used to, but then you had kids and all that happens with that and you think you’re TOO FAR GONE.

What’s the use. But you’re here, right? There must be some part of you that still thinks maybe it’s possible.

The fact is, everything starts with one small step. Every single journey, every single project, every single life! Step-by-step is how everything happens. Or doesn’t happen.

Jeff Olson says in his fantastic book, The Slight Edge, that the little things you do each day to move you toward a goal can be easy to do…but JUST as easy not to do.

It’s so common to think that some goal is too hard. And it is if you think of going from being a couch potato to running a marathon. You can’t just up and run a marathon after years of inactivity.

And the process to get to that point takes a pretty long time. If you look at that long time with despair, you may throw your hands up and say, “forget it!”

But what if you marched in place for five minutes each day, and kept adding on until you could eventually run a mile?

And then another and another. The time is going to pass no matter what. I completely and totally guarantee it!

It is! I promise you, it is. No matter where you’re starting in this journey I call Phase Two Fitness, you absolutely CAN change not only for the better, but for the goddamn long-haul!

There Is Hope For Change

And yes, I mean no matter what better means to you. It might mean smokin’ hot sexy muscles to me, it might mean weighing 10 or 20 pounds less than you do now to you. And keeping that weight off, thank you very much.

It could, of course, mean losing a large amount of weight, or just being able to walk for 30 minutes with someone you love.

No matter what it is, I’m telling you that you can move from point A (where you are right now) to point B, which is either your stopping point, or a way station on the road to point Z (whatever that means for you).

“But how? It can’t be that easy”.

It is easy. That’s what’s so amazing. You can do easy.

You just need to focus on small changes.

How about marching in place for a minute. Drinking a glass of water.

Maybe you can up your veggie intake by having one bite of a carrot every day.


You know you can.

Oh, and one more thing. Let’s say that you have had this same “goal” for about 20 years, and the older you get, the more you realize it’s probably never gonna happen.

But…but! Now this old lady is telling me that maybe I really can.

So let’s explore how to actually do this.

Small Changes Are Good

The first thing you need to do is figure out a goal. It can be a big goal or a relatively small goal. If it’s a big one, we’ll just break it down into smaller ones, until we can get to something mini.

Here are some examples. You want to be able to complete 10 regulation push ups before your next birthday. The kind on your toes, not your knees.

But maybe you’ve never done this in your life.

If someone held a gun to your head, you may be able to knock out 2 girlie on-your-knees push ups before you had to rest.

Let’s say you have a goal of doing this by the time you turn 53, which is 6 months from now (easy-peasy, by the way!).

For sure now is not the time to go all gung-ho. Even if you could. Trust me, if you haven’t accomplished even one push up in a long time (or ever), there’s no gung-ho about this.

Maybe about .00001% of the population of the world can just decide they will start or stop doing something and really accomplish it.

Suffice it to say, I am not one of those, and you probably aren’t either.

So, we’ll break this down into tiny steps. Do it in small stages. First 2 wall push ups. That’s it! Write that sucker down, though. You can download a cute little tracker just for, you guessed it–keeping track!

That’s it for day one of your new program, gal. Kind of a no-brainer, huh?


How will you follow it up tomorrow? How about 2 more wall push ups? Just do it while you’re watching the tube, or while dinner is cooking or whatever. Some other ideas:

  • during a break at the office
  • while your coffee brews in the morning
  • while your shower water is heating up
  • when you first get up in the morning
  • as soon as you change after work
Woman doing a plank showing small changes making a big impact

You get the idea, and you can certainly be way more creative than this, too (creativity is not my strong suit).

After you’ve done your 2 wall push ups for 5 or 6 days in a row (you get a day off), see if you can increase it to 4 and do that for the next week. And so on.

Once you can easily do 10 wall push ups in a row, without resting, you can graduate to elevated push ups on a stair or bench.

Keep The Small Changes Coming

Then start the process over again. Do two of the new form every day for 5 or 6 days (do more if you’re easily able). Then you can go to floor push ups on your knees. Start with the same 2 and move up from there.

In this way, little by little, you can train yourself to do those 10 regulation push ups. If it takes you 6 months, that’s great!

If you hadn’t even started with the 2 simple wall push ups, it would have taken you forever, i.e., it never would have happened at all.

So don’t worry about the length of time. Even if it takes a year, you’re still far better off than never having begun simply because you thought doing those 2 little easy wall push ups didn’t amount to anything so what’s the use.

And I can just about guarantee that having begun this process and seeing it through to your goal will change not only your back, shoulders, biceps and triceps, but you’ll gain confidence in yourself and your ability to foster change in your life that you didn’t even know existed!

All from two little wall push ups.

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