Kelly Howard is a fitness expert and host of the Fit is Freedom podcast. She is also the author of Fit, Active, and Ageless for Life, which aligns perfectly with her focus on health and aging gracefully.

In this episode, Kelly Howard joins Christina Daves in a discussion about maintaining health and fitness at any age. Kelly emphasizes the importance of starting small with fitness routines, introducing the concept of “minimum daily movement” to ease people into regular physical activity. She highlights the psychological barriers to fitness and the necessity of reshaping one’s mindset about exercise. The discussion also covers practical tips for incorporating exercise into daily routines, maintaining motivation through accountability, and adapting fitness habits while traveling. Kelly stresses that fitness is a lifelong journey that requires consistency, adaptability, and a rejection of the pursuit of perfection.

Fitness, Health, and Aging Gracefully

We all know that there are more than just physical benefits when exercising. Christina shares her personal journey with fitness—it fuels her creativity and aids in her enduring vitality. 

For those looking to embark on a new fitness journey, Kelly offers some practical advice—especially for those who haven’t prioritized exercise before. The first step starts in our minds. It’s important to recognize that taking care of ourselves ultimately benefits not just us, but also our loved ones and our future selves.

As we age, the approach to fitness needs to adapt. Our bodies are changing, and it’s more important than ever to understand what’s happening and pay closer attention to what our bodies need. 

Kelly introduces the concept of “minimum daily movement” (MDM), advocating for starting small, even with just 10 minutes a day, to establish a consistent habit. Consistent small actions can yield significant changes over time.

The importance of mindset, consistency, and starting with manageable goals cannot be understated. Small daily habits can have a significant impact on our overall health and well-being. 

There is a powerful connection between physical and mental health. Numerous scientific studies demonstrate how exercise can combat cognitive decline and various health issues, reminding us of the crucial role exercise plays in our overall well-being.

Strength Training at Any Age – No Gym Required

As we age, improving muscle mass through strength training becomes even more important. Kelly suggests starting small. Although some are hesitant or intimidated to begin a resistance training program, the myriad of benefits goes beyond mere physical appearance.

Building muscle aids weight loss, improves sleep, and promotes better overall health. Kelly dispels the misconception that it’s too late to gain muscle or begin a strength-training regime. Muscle is crucial in maintaining strength and balance as we age.

Don’t worry, a gym membership is not required!

Kelly and Christina share accessible ways to incorporate resistance training into daily life, from using household items like laundry detergent or water jugs to gradually increasing weights. They share personal experiences of how strength training transformed their fitness routines and empowered them to tackle physical tasks with ease.

The simplicity and effectiveness of strength training can have a transformative impact on strength, health, and confidence . . . regardless of age or fitness level.

Get Outside

For those who are opposed to traditional workouts, Christina and Kelly explore the joy of outdoor activities as a way to stay active without feeling like you’re exercising. Kelly emphasizes how important it is to find physical activities you enjoy—when you’re having fun, it feels more like play than workouts.

Depending on where you live, there are so many outdoor activity options. Adventures such as hiking, cycling, and water sports like kayaking provide ways to engage with nature and stay fit. 

If you’re just getting started, Kelly shares helpful tips for beginners, such as choosing the right equipment and starting small to build confidence.

Small purposeful changes and consistent effort will help you achieve all the benefits of staying active, such as the benefits of vitamin D and the positive impact on muscle health.

The Impact of Mindset on Reaching Goals

In Fit, Active, and Ageless for Life, Kelly shares the book’s origin, which stemmed from leading a retreat focused on empowering women to overcome fitness challenges. She emphasizes the importance of mindset in achieving fitness goals and addresses common obstacles to consistency.

Kelly breaks down the book into sections focusing on mobility, cardio, and resistance training, highlighting the diversity of exercises beyond traditional gym routines. Christina shares her own scheduling strategy of integrating workouts into daily routines to ensure consistency.

There is great satisfaction in checking off completed tasks, and scheduling workouts reinforces consistency. It is important to focus on mindset, scheduling, and diverse exercise options when working to achieve long-term fitness goals.

Taking Imperfect Action

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all fitness plan. Kelly prefers a plan tailored to individual needs—comprising mobility, cardio, and strength training. She’s said it before and she’ll say it again: start small and adapt the plan according to your individual fitness level and goals.

Let go of perfection—striving for perfection is often detrimental to progress. Instead, embrace imperfection and maintain consistency in your fitness journey. Christina shares a favorite quote from her coach, underscoring the value of taking imperfect action over waiting for perfection.

Consistency and progress are more important than perfection—take action towards your fitness goals even if setbacks or imperfections pop up.

Layered Accountability

Accountability is a critical indicator in successful and long-lasting fitness habits. Imperfect action and finding effective accountability strategies are key components of a healthy and fit lifestyle. Kelly cautions against relying solely on apps, friends, or life partners. Instead, she suggests considering layered accountability, starting with simple methods like scheduling workouts and gradually progressing to more structured accountability groups or events.

Progress over perfection—accountability is a learned behavior that can be cultivated over time.

Staying Fit On the Go

On the road? Kelly provides valuable tips for maintaining fitness while traveling, emphasizing the importance of managing nutrition and incorporating resistance bands into workouts for muscle maintenance. She suggests scheduling workouts around travel plans and being flexible with expectations, focusing on maintenance rather than trying to build muscle while on the go.

Christina shares her own strategies, such as checking maps for safe walking routes and packing essentials like protein powder and bars to avoid unhealthy food choices. Kelly advises taking rest days to allow joints and muscles to recover, particularly after strength training sessions. While cardio can be done daily, she cautions against excessively long sessions to prevent muscle loss.

Additionally, Kelly recommends adding a “wild card” day to the schedule for fun activities, because incorporating play into fitness routines can help keep it fresh. 

A Gift for You

Kelly’s greatest accomplishment since turning 50 is her advancement in whitewater paddling and overcoming fear in the process. Looking ahead, she envisions herself enjoying more river activities and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle while gradually reducing work commitments.

As a gift to listeners, Kelly offers a free electronic version of her book, Fit, Active, and Ageless for Life. Kelly encourages individuals to stay fit, active, and ageless throughout life.

To explore Kelly’s resources, including her website and podcast, or for further guidance and support in achieving their fitness goals, connect with her today.

See her full episode here:


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