5 Fitness tips for everyone over 50
For most people today, achieving or simply maintaining a decent level of physical fitness is a challenge, but for people turning 50, getting fit can be even more challenging.
Today there are more weight loss programmes, exercise equipment and fitness routines to choose from than ever before, yet statistics remind us how out of shape we are.
Hard as it may seem, there are some simple and effective ways to stay in shape after 50. These five simple tips can help you get (and stay) in shape at 50 and beyond.
Weight lifting may be the best way for older women to maintain their overall physical condition and stop the slow fat gain. Developing strength with weight training is possible at any age, and studies published in 2009 show that women in their 70s develop significant muscle by lifting weights 2 to 3 times a week.
Walking has been consistently shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, help keep weight under control and improve mood in those who maintain a regular walking routine. 2 Any aerobic exercise (cycling, jogging, swimming) is excellent for maintaining lower levels of body fat and improving flexibility and overall body tone, but after the age of 50, walking has some advantages.
Walking provides unique benefits for older athletes. The risk of injury is low, requires little equipment, can be done alone or in a group and is easy to do while travelling. Walking also helps improve joint and bone health.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of walking is that it is helpful. Walking to run errands, take your dog out and exercise with him, socialise or go outdoors are additional benefits of using a walking routine to keep fit. By combining walking with weight training, you’ll have a simple and effective way to get and stay in shape after the age of 50.
Incorporating High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Interval training is a great way to improve overall fitness. It is fast and effective but can be challenging. To get the benefits of interval training and minimise the risk, start slowly and stop when you run out of breath. For example, if you go for a walk, increase your pace for 30 seconds and then return to your usual pace. Repeat this 30 second burst once every 5 minutes. Continue until you have completed five 30-second bursts.
As the days and weeks go by, you may want to jog during this 30-second interval. The beauty of interval training is that you are in control of your effort and the number of repetitions. If you’re already in good shape, you can add high-intensity interval training and improve it. When you start your intervals, always pay attention to any warning signs that you’re overdoing it.
Doing basic exercises
As we age and become less active, the central force is often one of the first things we suffer. Poor core strength can lead to a domino effect of other physical pains and discomforts due to poor body mechanics and poor alignment. 3 Pain in the back, hips, knees and neck can often be traced back to poor central strength.
The core muscles include more than just the abdominals, which is why it is important to constantly perform balanced core strength training. Do a quick 20 minute basic workout 3 to 4 times a week to maintain core strength and stability.
Other excellent ways to maintain core muscles are to do simple bodyweight exercises that force the core to contract as it stabilizes your body. Challenging bodyweight exercises to burn calories
Eat enough protein
Many older women do not get enough protein to maintain muscle mass. 4 Protein is the main component of the body and because it is not stored, it must be replenished regularly. Proteins can be complete (those containing 8 essential amino acids) or incomplete (without essential amino acids). Complete proteins are found in most animal sources, such as meat, fish and eggs, while incomplete proteins are generally found in vegetables, fruits and nuts.
Vegan and vegan athletes often struggle to get adequate protein if they don’t pay much attention to how they combine food sources. 5 If you don’t get enough protein, it can be difficult to build or maintain muscle. If you’re a vegan, it’s even more important that you learn how to get enough of this essential nutrient.
It’s possible to get fit and stay fit after 50, but it requires constant movement and a little knowledge to get the most out of your activity.
- Westcott WL, Winett RA, Annesi JJ, Wojcik JR, Anderson ES, Madden PJ. Prescribing physical activity: applying the ACSM protocols for exercise type, intensity, and duration across 3 training frequencies. Phys Sportsmed. 2009;37(2):51-8. doi:10.3810/psm.2009.06.1709
- Grant G, Machaczek K, Pollard N, Allmark P. Walking, sustainability and health: findings from a study of a Walking for Health group. Health Soc Care Community. 2017;25(3):1218-1226. doi:10.1111/hsc.12424
- Huxel Bliven KC, Anderson BE. Core stability training for injury prevention. Sports Health. 2013;5(6):514–522. doi:10.1177/1941738113481200
- Nowson C, O’Connell S. Protein Requirements and Recommendations for Older People: A Review. Nutrients. 2015;7(8):6874–6899. Published 2015 Aug 14. doi:10.3390/nu7085311
- Rogerson D. Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:36. Published 2017 Sep 13. doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0192-9