Let’s first establish that there really are no “over 50 exercises”. Meaning there’s no need for you to eliminate a certain exercise as you age or perform special exercises because of your age. If you’re just starting your fitness journey (or starting over), have a plan to start with simple movements or lighter weights, then gradually work your way into exercises that are more complex. So, no exercise should be “off limits,” but it is important to do exercises that you’re trained and equipped to do so that you’re not introducing injury. Physical exercise and weight training should be a constant progression throughout your lifetime, and you can continue to do it all, no matter your age!
Best Anti-Aging Exercises
- Balance Exercises
- Strength Training
Exercises that specifically help you develop and retain balance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider getting in or staying in shape. However, good balance is a key factor in helping adults retain mobility and independence as they age. When we’re young, there are basic movements that we don’t necessarily consider to be “skills,” but without the ability to do them, you slowly begin to experience the loss of independence. One example is to be able to go up and down a flight of stairs confidently and securely.
Once you begin developing fear about being able to get in and out of your house or car or going up and down stairs, you slowly begin to change patterns to avoid doing what once were basic skills. The result of changing your movement patterns is that you’re limiting where you go and the types of activities you’ll do.
As we age, strength training increases bone density and muscle mass or even reverses the loss of muscle mass. Strength and resistance training also contributes to better balance and coordination, which points right back to the importance of balance exercises. Building muscle through strength training in our 50s, 60s, and 70s is just as important, if not more important than it is in our 20s and 30s.
Lifting weights might seem like a young person’s pursuit of vanity, but it offers life-changing benefits as we age and should be a non-negotiable part of your daily fitness routine. Lifting weights can also offer a huge confidence boost and can help you stay motivated not only for physical activities but also for the desire to continue to learn and try new things, no matter your age.
Cardio exercises have a range of benefits all throughout our lives. Children do this naturally because they are compelled to move when they play. As we age, we can easily stop doing that and become much more sedentary as we focus on work and the business of life. Cardio exercises help prevent disease, improve mental health, and decrease the risk of falling.
Many cardio activities such as pickleball, swimming, or other group exercise classes can also provide healthy social engagement.
Combine balance, strength, and cardio for the most complete workout
Strength training and cardio activities can be excellent for improving balance, so both things already serve an important dual purpose. What I consider to be the perfect “Over 50 Workout” incorporates all three of these important elements, including balance exercises, strength exercises like lifting weights, and cardio. Cardio can happen simultaneously with strength training or can be done on its own in something as simple as going on a brisk walk.
With this combination in mind, I’m going to share some of my favorite balance exercises, weight and strength training movements, and fun ways to incorporate cardio into every workout.
The Perfect Over 50 Exercises For The Most Complete Workout
Let’s begin with a series of balance and coordination exercises that can be done from anywhere with no equipment necessary.
The single-leg stance is a beginner exercise used to improve the ability to balance on one leg. The longer you stand on one leg, the more the muscles will fatigue, which can help to improve not only balance and stability but also muscle endurance.
The walking lunge may seem like a challenging leg workout, but if you’ve never tried it or it’s been a while, you will find that it’s easy to get off kilter while doing a lunge, especially a walking lunge. This means that the more you practice, the better your balance and strength will be. Walking lunges can help increase your range of motion by helping to increase flexibility and loosen your hips and hamstrings. The walking lunge can also help improve posture and balance.
The curtsy squat is a great warmup move but don’t mistake that for lack of challenge. This is a bodyweight squat that targets the glutes, thighs, and core. The curtsy squat is also great for strengthening and stabilizing your core. The benefits are improved leg and core strength, improved balance, and increased stability, and increased speed can also raise that heart rate to introduce cardiovascular exercise into your workout warmup.
Strength training is important as we age as it helps to maintain muscle tissue and strength. Weightlifting and resistance training also contribute to better balance and coordination and reduce the risk of falls. Additional benefits of strength training include preservation of bone density, improved sleep, and reduced depression. Here are three of my favorite and most effective dumbbell exercises:
Lateral raises help you achieve defined shoulders which every woman loves, but the benefits aren’t just to your appearance. Lateral raises will help increase shoulder mobility, range of motion, and stability. Overall, this helps you maintain an active and independent lifestyle.
The dumbbell row is a simple exercise, but it has many benefits. This exercise will help to build a strong back, working many muscles in your upper body. This can also improve your posture, increase your range of motion, and increase your grip strength, which is such an important skill to maintain as you age.
The renegade row is a full-body exercise that activates core muscles, back muscles, and arm muscles. Renegade rows can help develop upper body strength and simultaneously improve balance and stabilization.
Cardio. Take your pick!
Add cardio to your day, whether it’s combined with your workout or not. Take a walk in the morning to get your heart rate up and your circulation moving. While you can perform balance and strength exercises anytime during the day, schedule to play tennis, pickleball, or any other activity that’s fun and gets you moving.
Always keep in mind to move your body, stay active, stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, and move with confidence and coordination. These activities alone will keep you the healthiest, youngest version of yourself at any age.