Maintaining a healthy weight can become more challenging as you age. This is primarily due to metabolic changes that contribute to weight gain after the age of 50.
As you age, your muscle mass declines in a process called sarcopenia. This loss of muscle mass usually begins around 50 and can slow your metabolism, which may lead to weight gain. Because of the loss of muscle mass, which is about 1-2 percent a year, muscle building is essential.
Strength training via bodyweight movements or weight training is the best exercise to lose weight and body fat after 50 because it kicks in the metabolism. In addition, strength training will help improve mobility and increase bone density.
The secret to losing weight after 50 is to build more muscle mass because that’s what increases the metabolism.
“More and more research is finding that strength training is, in fact, the only type of exercise that can substantially slow, and even reverse, the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered unavoidable parts of aging.”
And even if you’ve never lifted weights, now is a perfect time to embrace weight training. Consider working with a personal trainer to be sure you’re training with proper form.
Aim to lift weights 3 times a week, 30 minutes a week to work major muscle groups including arms, legs and the core. The goal should be to lift a weight that’s heavy enough to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions per session before muscles become fatigued. American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends both strength training and aerobic activity on a regular basis; 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity is advised 3 to 5 days a week, and weight training should be done for 20 to 30 minutes 2 to 3 times a week.
And, remember consistency is key! Set up a program and stick with it! It’s important to remember to warm-up and cool down. This includes stretching, for at least 10 minutes before and after weight training.