At age 50, you might think that your best days of exercise are behind you. But it’s not true—exercise is just as important for your health at 50 as it was at 40. In fact, there are specific ways to exercise that will help you burn calories and lose weight fast.

Here’s what you need to know about exercising for weight loss over 50:

You don’t need to do high-impact exercises like running or cycling. A more moderate approach—like walking at an easy pace—is best.

You don’t have to go all-out on every single workout either; doing a little bit every day will get you the results you want faster than if you try to go hard one day and then hardly work out the next week.

And finally: focus on strength training! Strength training can help keep your bones strong and healthy even as osteoporosis begins to set in, which means that good bone health is important for both preventing falls as well as avoiding fractures later in life (which would require surgery).

Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on exercise routine 50 year old woman at home, sample meal plan for weight loss over 50, walking for weight loss over 50, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Best Exercise For Weight Loss Over 50

Exercise – it’s something we all need but many of us struggle to find the motivation to do. In fact, our survey results revealed that over a quarter of us don’t enjoy exercise. But with the undeniable benefits of improved mental and physical wellbeing, it’s really important to make some sort of activity a part of your life. If you really do find it too much of a chore, then it may be that you haven’t found a workout that’s right for you yet. As our bodies and lifestyles change as get older, so too should our exercise routines. With that in mind, here’s our guide to the best exercise for over 50s.

NOTE: some of these group classes are subject to current coronavirus restrictions 

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:
 

  • It keeps your mind sharp. Regular exercise over the age of 50 improves cognitive function, including memory
  • It improves your mental health. Far from just having physical benefits, taking the time to exercise can significantly improve your overall wellbeing too, with the NHS noting that exercise can help those with mild depression.
  • It can help maintain muscle mass. Incorporating strength training into your exercise regime is key to slowing down the loss of muscle mass that comes with ageing. Keeping active is also important for your bones, as maintaining bone density can reduce the risk of falls.
  • It may reduce your risk of certain illnesses. The risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer and diabetes developing can be reduced by regular physical activity. 

8 best exercises for over 50s to lose weight or build strength

Firstly, it may be a little harder, but it absolutely is possible to shift weight if you’re over 50. Yes, our metabolisms are slowing down, and the menopause does tend to lead to weight gain, particularly round the middle, but gransnetters are full of success stories. Most agree that the solution is simple: ‘Eat less and move more.’ But are some exercises better than others? 


Most would agree that a comprehensive exercise plan will have the best results. That is, one that includes cardio that gets your heart rate up such as running or brisk walking, as well as resistance training (weights, resistance bands). And remember that, as in the case of all new exercise routines, you must check with your GP first, especially if you have any medical issues.

1. Walking

Many gransnetters aim for 10,000 steps a day. Obviously an idle amble isn’t going to do as much good as a brisk walk, so to really reap the benefits you should aim to get the blood pumping and a light sweat on. The joy of walking is that wherever you live – urban or rural – there will be somewhere nearby to explore. Oh, and it’s free, so the pros of this exercise really do stack up.

“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.” 

2. Running

Running provides a wide range of physical and mental health benefits, from decreasing the risk of heart disease to lowering stress levels. Again, you can tailor your running routine to suit you – whether that’s choosing 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.”

3. Pilates

Pilates is an excellent core body workout and has added benefits in helping back and joint pain and improving posture. It’s become increasingly popular amongst over 50s in recent years, and its influence doesn’t appear to be slowing down 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 realise how weak my core muscles are. I would recommend classes to anyone who has the time to go.”

4. Tai chi

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 really 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.” 

5. Yoga
exercise over 50 yoga

Excellent for flexibility and balance, yoga is a favourite of gransnetters, for good reason. With a multitude of health benefits, there’s research that suggests this exercise can prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, and alleviate aches and pains. Plus, it’s a stress-buster too, making it a great way to unwind after a tough day.

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

6. Resistance exercises

Think exercises involving weights are just for bodybuilders? Think again! Strength training is a key type of exercise that’s important as we get older as it helps maintain muscle mass. You can use resistance machines at the gym or try weight training with light dumbbells. It could be worth investing in a session with a personal trainer so you make sure you do the right exercises to meet your goals and execute them with the correct 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.”

7. Swimming

Swimming is one of those few exercises that gives a full body workout, and helps to strengthen different muscle groups, depending on the style you do, whilst also improving your cardiovascular system. If doing the same movement for your entire workout doesn’t sound appealing to you, why not try an aqua aerobics class? It’s a fun, social way of incorporating aerobics and strength training into your exercise regime.

“Now that I’m retired, I can find time twice a week to swim a mile (64 lengths, 45 mins). As a result I am feeling stronger and fitter than I have been in many years.”

8. Zumba or dance-based exercise classes

Perfect for those who get bored easily and find listening to music helps with motivation, ZumbaGold classes are aimed at people who are 50 plus, and offer low impact exercises with the same benefits as the original version.

“I have arthritis in my spine and hips and am a size 16. I was the oldest in the Zumba class, so don’t be put off. This one is really good fun and I have released my inner Shakira!”

Balance exercises

Feel more steady on your feet with simple and easy balance exercises to try at home using a chair or the kitchen work surface. Fitness expert Julie Robinson from Move It Or Lose It demonstrates a handful of these exercises to help you improve your balance in just five minutes.

How to motivate yourself to exercise

Feeling motivated to exercise regularly can be tricky, but here are a few tips to help you get started. 

1. Find an exercise you actually enjoy doing

If you love being outside instead of in a gym, then a brisk stroll or run around your local park or neighbourhood is the thing for you.
 

  • If you love music and dancing, Zumba is a definite must.
  • If you like being part of a team, then you could consider joining a running club.
  • If you’re competitive by nature, perhaps tennis or a similar sport would be the right thing for you.

2. Find a partner in crime

Never underestimate the power of peer pressure. Rope in a friend, a neighbour, your daughter, or better yet, a dog! Anyone you can convince who would benefit from a bit of exercise. Be each other’s support and motivator as they could help you to work harder and burn more calories. But do choose your exercise partner well, unlike this gransnetter.

“I have a walking companion who tops or belittles everything I say and buys ‘only the best’. With that and farting as she walks, a fun Sunday morning is had!”
 

3. Set realistic goals

If you want to run a marathon, that’s great, but if you currently can’t walk round the block without collapsing, then it’s probably not achievable in the short term. The best motivator is to achieve smaller goals step by step and then move on to the next stage.

Try Couch to 5K if you’re interested in running, or pick a yoga move that you’d like to master and use YouTube videos to work on it a few times a week. Once you’ve achieved those goals, move on to the next. This way you’ll be climbing a mountain in bite-size stages instead of sprinting to the top but running out of air halfway up.  

exercise 2

4. Make it a habit

The secret to creating a new habit is making the action as easy as possible. So, if you’re planning on exercising first thing, lay out your workout gear and trainers the night before. Promise yourself you’ll stick to it for just two weeks. After that time, you’re very likely to have slipped into a routine and, hey presto, the exercise habit is formed.
 

5. Treat yourself

Clearly a piece of cake or glass of wine after each workout will probably negate all your efforts, so try rewarding yourself when you reach your goals with a new pair of trainers, a manicure or an early night with a film.

How to incorporate exercise into your everyday routine

Gardening

If you’re looking to get active without it feeling like a workout, regular gardening not only has the benefit of getting you into the fresh air and upping your Vitamin D, but it also means your outdoor space will be weed-free and beautiful year round. Just be cautious not to overdo the bending and damage your back.

“I get into the garden as much as possible – also helps my light levels.”
 

Childcare

Arguably the very best kind of exercise for mind, body and spirit, looking after the grandkids is beneficial for all involved. Exhausting, yes. Rewarding, most definitely! Don’t rely on screens to keep them occupied and take a look at these wonderful ideas to keep kids entertained. You’re sure to end the day happy, tired and definitely well-exercised. 
 

Walking the dog

If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the wellbeing of your dog. Take a slightly longer walk, try a different route, throw a ball in the park. Every extra step makes a difference.

“I have dogs, so an hour for them is minimum really. The dogs are a boon, because I have to go out whatever the weather.”

Exercise Routine 50 Year Old Woman At Home

Don’t let being 50 hold you back from starting an exercise program. You don’t have to join a gym or invest in a lot of expensive equipment. The best exercise program for a 50-year-old woman is a well-rounded one. Start small and start slow, but make sure you incorporate resistance training, cardiovascular activity, stretching, core and balance training. This will set you up nicely as you age and perhaps reveal a you that you’ve always longed to be: Strong, toned and healthier.

Strength Training for Women

In your workout for a 50-year-old woman, it is imperative to incorporate resistance exercises into your weekly routine to prevent muscle loss and keep your strength up. Incorporate exercises that utilize all the major muscle groups of your body, which include chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and abs. Choose a weight that will fatigue your muscles in about 10 to 12 repetitions in two to three sets.

Heart-Healthy Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise keeps your heart healthy by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, helps prevent diabetes and weight gain, and improves your quality of life through increased stamina and endurance. Appropriate modes of exercise include treadmill, stationary cycle, elliptical, stair machine or any other activity that actively elevates your heart rate such as dancing or hiking.

Aim for an intensity that increases breathing and feels challenging, but you’re still able to speak or have a short conversation, or about 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you are accustomed to exercise, challenge yourself with shorter bouts of more intense exercise.

Build a Solid Core

Training your core will help maintain your posture and balance, as well as keep your midsection tight and toned. Target the deep abdominal muscles of the transverse abdominis and internal obliques with planks and side planks.

In an ABC News online article, Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Alabama, recommends stability ball rollouts, where you kneel on the floor and place your elbows on a ball. Allow the ball to roll forward while opening your hips and shoulders. Then, contract your abs to pull the ball back toward you. Pelvic tilts, abdominal pulses and yoga are also ideal activities for training your core.

Bend and Stretch

Stretching is a must-do exercise for a 50-year-old female. It’s often an understated aspect of fitness, but adequate flexibility allows you to have greater range of motion, freedom of movement and relaxed muscles. Stretching corrects imbalances, decreases soreness, reduces risk of injury and improves posture.

Before engaging in static stretching, do about five minutes of movement to warm-up the muscles, which can include walking, cycling, or just large dynamic joint movements like arm circles and trunk rotations. The American Council on Exercise suggests stretching each major muscle group and holding each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Do not bounce, strain, or hold your breath.

Safe and Smart Scheduling

Train each major muscle group at least twice per week on non-consecutive days. Do either two days of total body, or three days intermixing upper and lower body. After weight training, sit and stretch your muscles. Aim for 30 minutes of flexibility training three days per week; however, even five minutes will elicit benefits.

On non-weight-training days, work on your core, balance and posture. Engage in moderate amounts of cardiovascular exercise most days per week. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum 150 minutes per week of activity. If you are new to exercise, break this down into 10 to 15 increments one to three times per day.

Sample Meal Plan For Weight Loss Over 50

Eating healthfully and having an active lifestyle can support healthy aging. Use the resources below to learn about different patterns of healthy eating and ways to create a nutritious meal plan.

Older adults’ unique nutrition needs

Simple adjustments can go a long way toward building a healthier eating pattern. Follow these tips to get the most out of foods and beverages while meeting your nutrient needs and reducing the risk of disease:

  • Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group to help reduce the risk of developing diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Choose foods with little to no added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium.
  • To get enough protein throughout the day and maintain muscle, try adding seafood, dairy, or fortified soy products along with beans, peas, and lentils to your meals. Learn more about protein and other important nutrients.
  • Add sliced or chopped fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks. Look for pre-cut varieties if slicing and chopping are a challenge for you.
  • Try foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as some cereals, or talk to your doctor about taking a B12 supplement. Learn more about key vitamins and minerals.
  • Reduce sodium intake by seasoning foods with herbs and citrus such as lemon juice.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help stay hydrated and aid in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. Avoid sugary drinks.

USDA Food Patterns

Eating habits can change as we grow older. The USDA has developed Food Patterns to help people understand different ways they can eat healthy. The food patterns include:

  • Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern: This is based on the types of foods Americans typically consume. The main types of food in this eating pattern include a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, seafood, poultry, and meat, as well as eggs, nuts, seeds, and soy products. Check out this sample menu to get started.
  • Healthy Mediterranean-Style Eating Pattern: This one contains more fruits and seafood and less dairy than the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern.
  • Healthy Vegetarian Eating Pattern: This pattern contains no meat, poultry, or seafood, but does contain fat-free or low-fat dairy. Compared with the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern, it contains more soy products, eggs, beans and peas, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.

Meal planning

Answering the question “what should I eat?” doesn’t need to leave you feeling baffled and frustrated. In fact, when you have the right information and motivation, you can feel good about making healthy choices. Use these tips to plan healthy and delicious meals:

  • Plan in advance. Meal planning takes the guesswork out of eating and can help ensure you eat a variety of nutritious foods throughout the day.
  • Find budget-friendly foods. Create a shopping list in advance to help stick to a budget and follow these SNAP-friendly recipes.
  • Consider preparation time. Some meals can be made in as little as five minutes. If you love cooking, or if you’re preparing a meal with or for friends or family, you may want to try something a little more challenging.
  • Keep calories in mind. The number of calories people need each day varies by individual. Always discuss your weight and fitness goals with your health care provider before making big changes.

Find recipes

When planning meals, looking for recipes that sound delicious to you can be a good place to start. The USDA features the MyPlate Kitchen, a resource that helps you find healthy recipes that fit your nutrition needs and create a shopping list. The MyPlate Plan tool will create a customized food plan for you based on your age, height, weight, and physical activity level.

Some of the recipes available at MyPlate Kitchen include:

  • 20-Minute Chicken Creole: This Creole-inspired dish uses chili sauce and cayenne pepper. It can be cooked on the stovetop or with an electric skillet in just 20 minutes.
  • Five A Day Salad: This nutrient-packed salad uses 10 different vegetables, and each serving is equal to five cups of vegetables.
  • Apple Carrot Soup: Ginger and orange peel are the secret ingredients to this pork, apple, and carrot soup.

When you create your shopping list, don’t forget nutritious basics such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain bread. This sample shopping list (PDF, 108 KB) includes a variety of healthy foods you may want to have in your kitchen.

Sample menus

Here are some meal options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, including links to recipes as well as simpler choices that can be put together without a recipe.

BreakfastLunch
DinnerSnack
Smoothie with spinach, fruit, and yogurtVegetable omelet with whole-grain toast.
Avocado breakfast bruschetta
Banana split oatmeal
Eggs over kale and sweet potato grits
Chicken, tomato, avocado sandwich on whole-grain breadQuinoa with stir-fried vegetables
Apple coleslaw
Black bean and sweet potato quesadillas
Sanchico tuna salad
Chicken breast, roasted vegetables, hummus
Roasted salmon, zucchini, and sweet potatoWhole-wheat pasta, ground turkey, and tomato sauce
Argentinean grilled steak with salsa criolla
Eve’s tasty turkey tetrazzini
Fish with spinach
Baby carrots and hummus
Celery with natural peanut butter
Fruit and yogurt
Banana cocoa yogurt pops
Chili popcorn
Yummy bean dip

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