What are the best 3 exercises if I am over 50?

50, fit and fabulous. Does this exist? Well, like my mentor in Psychology used to say, “it depends.”

It depends on what your view on fit and fabulous is of course!

Fitness for an over 50’s age group is about more than how much can you bench press or how fast can you run 5km. It is about ensuring the next 30 or more years of your life are enriched through you improving your health and fitness.

So, these are my top three exercises for people over 50 in general. Please note, this depends on your current health or medical concerns and whether you have any ongoing, previous or new injuries to speak of. Especially for a 50 and over person, please go and speak to a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist before you start a new exercise program to make sure you are doing something that is safe and beneficial for you.

  1. Walking. My reasons: Walking is still the best exercise rated for lower back pain overall in all the research I have looked into. It is the most “safe” exercise to perform of all cardiovascular exercise groups and is referenced in thousands of research studies to say that it will still improve physical capacity, if performed regularly.

2. Balance. Falls are one of the biggest reasons people over 50 go to hospital. To prevent falls, we must continue to progress our balance. You can start with an inline balance stance or tandem balance stance. I have included a video of some progressions you can start with.

3. Resistance Training:

The main goal of resistance training once you reach over 50 years of age is to grow muscle. When people say muscle toning as a goal, the best way to achieve that is to grow your skeletal muscle when you are doing your fitness training. To do this, you should consult with a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist to help design a program that is good for you. Doing 6 exercises, for 3 times per week, for 2-4 sets of 8-15 repetitions that focus on the biggest muscle groups or multi-joint exercises is the way to go. The key focus is on providing a progressively increasing stress onto your bones, joints, muscles to help motivate your muscles to grow. Don’t have too much false expectation, growth of muscle might only be 0.5kg to 2kg muscle growth per year! However, the growth of muscle does stimulate your metabolic rate, which falls as we age, so this means that you will burn more calories at rest especially, helping to decrease body fat as you grow muscle.

The key variable in training is consistency. You do not have to “hurt” yourself to get better, just turning up 2-3 times per week and working consistently though will see great results if you make it part of your life. It is hard sometimes when you are first starting this journey. It does not matter if you have never exercised before, starting at 50 years of age is a great time to start. You can still adapt and grow new muscle and especially improve your fitness and health to help you improve quality of life long-term.

Our mission is to transform self-belief and physical capacity with unrivalled care. We love doing this everyday and we would love to help you start your own transformation. Please contact us on 4927 8190 or email glenn@vectorhealth.com.au so that we can get you started.

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