The results of a survey showed that more than a quarter of people don’t enjoy exercise. However, exercise is important for mental and physical wellbeing. If someone doesn’t enjoy exercise, it may be that they haven’t found a workout that’s right for them yet. As people get older, their bodies and lifestyles change, so their exercise routines should also change.

The Benefits of Exercise Over 50

Keeping fit is beneficial at any age, but exercising over 50 is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you grow older. Here are just some of the benefits of working up a sweat:

Exercise improves cognitive function, including memory, for people over 50.

Exercise can have significant benefits for your mental health, not just your physical health. The NHS notes that exercise can help people with mild depression.

Strength training is key to maintaining muscle mass as we age. Keeping active is also important for bones, as it helps maintain bone density and reduce the risk of falls.

Physical activity on a regular basis has the potential to lower your risk of developing certain health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and various types of cancer.

Best Exercises to Lose Weight or Build Strength

Although it may require more effort, it is still possible for people over the age of 50 to lose weight. A slower metabolism and menopause can often lead to weight gain, especially around the waist, but many older people have still been successful in losing weight. The general consensus is that the solution is to consume fewer calories and to be more active. However, some exercises may be more beneficial than others.

Many people agree that the best way to get fit is to follow a comprehensive exercise plan. This type of plan would include both cardiovascular exercises, like running or brisk walking, and resistance training with weights or resistance bands. Remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have any medical issues.

Walking

The pros of walking are that it’s a great way to get moving and improve your fitness without having to spend any money. You can do it anywhere, and it’s a great way to explore your local area.

“I walk for half an hour, four to five days a week but also walk to the local shop or to my daughter’s and the pool a few times a week too.” 

Running

Running provides many physical and mental health benefits. You can choose to run outdoors or in a gym, and also opting for the length and speed that suits you.

“I took up running when I was 59 and did two half marathons. I now go for short runs as often as I can manage it.”

Pilates

Pilates is an excellent workout for core muscles, and has additional benefits of helping with back and joint pain and improving posture. It has become increasingly popular among people over 50 in recent years, and its influence doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

“I honestly thought I was quite fit as I am on the go most of the time, work two days a week, and walk most places but by heck, I didn’t realize how weak my core muscles are. I would recommend classes to anyone who has the time to go.”

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a wonderfully relaxing exercise with numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. Many women over 50 love this low-impact activity which is easy on muscles and can help with mobility and flexibility. There are many classes for beginners across the country, and you can find one near you in our guide to tai chi for over 50s.

“Having experienced tai chi I can see how beneficial it could be, as both gentle and effective exercise and an excellent way of learning to relax. Learning the sequences is a very good exercise for the brain as well so I would recommend it, but try to find a class that is more suitable for beginners.” 

Yoga

Grandparents love yoga because it is very good for improving flexibility and balance. Additionally, there are many health benefits associated with yoga, such as reducing blood pressure and heart disease, and alleviating aches and pains. Furthermore, yoga is also a great way to relieve stress.

“I feel fairly flexible and am pretty sure that yoga is keeping me healthy in mind and body.”

Resistance Exercises

Although often associated with bodybuilders, weight training is an important form of exercise for people as they age. This type of exercise helps maintain muscle mass, which can be lost as people age. People can use resistance machines or dumbbells for weight training. It may be beneficial to invest in a session with a personal trainer to make sure the correct exercises are being done with the proper form to avoid injury.

“I use machines at my gym that involve resistance weights to build muscle. My arms, legs, bum, and shoulders are much stronger and less flabby since I started. I only do it twice a week.”

Annie Deadman, personal trainer, pilates instructor, and author of the best-selling book The 21 Day Blast Plan shows you how to get started with simple exercises that don’t require any equipment and can be done at home.

Expert Tips

Be sure to move every hour

To avoid negative health effects, it is important to avoid extended periods of sitting without movement. According to Meade, sitting for long periods of time cancels out the benefits of an hour spent working out in the gym. When you sit for long periods, the muscles start to break down and release fats into the bloodstream.

You should try to be active throughout the day to stay healthy. For example, if you’ve been sitting for a while, stand up and move around. A fitness watch like the Apple Watch can help by sending you reminders to stand up every hour.

Breathe Deeply

It is important to breathe correctly while exercising so that you do not negatively affect your mood and hamper your ability to exercise effectively. Meade explains that the best way to breathe while exercising is to take long, slow, and deep breaths.

Mix Things Up

Make sure to vary your exercise routine throughout the week so you don’t get bored. According to Meade, this is important for longevity because it stimulates your body’s protective SOD system and reduces chronic inflammation.

Look After Your Knees

A common exercise-related injury that often affects the knees is tendinitis.

Meade advises runner to be aware of their joint health, as some natural biomechanics may cause running to be a not suitable option. If there is any doubt, Meade suggests to get knees checked by a professional. Wearing shoes with support is also important for runner safety.

According to Robbins, an easy way to work the same muscle group as squats is by doing a glute bridge instead.

What to Avoid

Hayley stresses the importance of taking into account one’s own fitness level when choosing an exercise routine.

According to Fishwick, it is important to be mindful of the fact that joints may not be as strong as they once were as we age, and to adapt exercises accordingly to reduce impact on the knees.

This means that you would do a regular squat without the jumping component.

HIIT

It’s important to keep your exercise routine varied, so build in a couple of weekly HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training).

The benefits of HIIT are numerous and well-documented, according to the Eastwood. High-intensity interval training has been shown to help build strong bones by laying down more calcium, as well as increasing muscle mass. What’s more, HIIT helps to burn calories throughout the day by increasing heart and lung capacity.

According to Eastwood, power moves are necessary to keep your muscles active, and by making them work hard, you can develop new muscle mass.

“The brain benefits from the stimulus of multidirectional movement, and endorphins will be flooding your body after each session,” she says. This is especially important as you get older.

Swimming and Cycling

It’s important to listen to your body at any stage of life, especially when it comes to exercise. If you start to experience joint pain in your 50s, it might be a sign that you need to modify your workout routine.

“You can still get a great workout in without putting as much pressure on your body,” Robbins reassures. If you’re concerned about joint pain, Robbins advises switching to low-impact cardiovascular activities, such as swimming and cycling. He reassures people that they can still get a great workout without putting as much pressure on their bodies.

According to Robbins, light cardio training has various benefits like maintaining heart and lung health, lowering blood pressure, and boosting mood. It can also be a fun and sociable experience if you look for group spin sessions or aqua aerobics classes.

If you would rather work out by yourself in your own home, you might want to buy one of the best exercise bikes or the best elliptical machines.

Long Runs

Think twice about signing up for a marathon if you are new to running because it stresses your body, raises cortisol levels, and puts a lot of stress on your joints.

Choose shorter distances to walk quickly instead of longer ones slowly for more long-term benefits with less impact on aging.

Heavy Weights

You should avoid lifting heavy weights unless you are a seasoned weight trainer or you have a PT. If you use these without proper instruction and good technique, it could have negative effects.

Eastwood says that if you try to do too much too soon, you can injure yourself and set back your training.

Lifting weights that are too heavy for you can cause your blood pressure to spike. Additionally, you should be careful when lifting weights if you have high blood pressure as it can cause an increase in your blood pressure.

Pushing Yourself Too Hard

Eastwood explains the importance of not putting too much stress on our joints as we age. He says that our bodies are aging and that too much wear and tear is probably not a good idea. He adds that it is important to listen to our bodies and be aware of how our needs may be changing each year.

The Same Old Routine

Your body always needs a good variety of exercises to stay healthy, no matter what your age is. According to Meade, if you’ve been stuck doing the same exercise every day, it’s a good idea to switch things up. For example, if you love swimming, also make sure to add some weight-bearing exercises to your routine to keep your bones healthy. You can find some great ideas for exercise pairings here.

Fear of Exercise

Meade explains that people over 50 years old should not be afraid to start a new program of exercise. The important thing is to prepare your body and be aware of your limitations. You should start small and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts.

There are plenty of ways to stay active without spending any money.

 

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About Rhoda ...

Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

She is the creator of the Elegant Eating Solution, an affordable program that helps women avoid weight regain and feel great about themselves, without restrictive eating.

Elegant Eating is based on the science of protein leverage and follows the unique R.E.M.A.P approach to successful aging.

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