We all want to age gracefully. And one of the best ways for women to do that is by staying as active as possible later in life—when 50 and above.
A significant challenge many women face is establishing a suitable workout program. They may wonder where to begin and workout routines for older adults that will benefit them the most.
If that’s where you’re at, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more about the best exercises for women over 50. Or go to the best workout program for men over 50.
Top Tips on the Best Workout Program for a 50-Year-Old Woman
A little information you’ll find both motivating and encouraging.
See how great Jenifer Lopez looks? Well, she’s easily left her 40s behind. What’s her secret? It’s eating right and exercising well.
Physical activity is highly beneficial, especially when you hit 50. It helps improve physical and mental health and lowers the decline in cognitive function that accompanies getting older.
The National Institute on Aging says that the best exercise program for a 50-year-old woman includes these four components:
You, too, can achieve your goals of keeping fit and looking good at 50 if you integrate these components into your workout program.
1. Increase Flexibility and Range of Motion
Remember, flexibility training is key to maintaining range of motion and flexibility in your joints.
As we grow older, our muscles, bones, and joints begin to wear. As a result, ligaments and tendons tend to change, reducing flexibility. What happens then is we develop some restrictions in joint motion.
Therefore, workout routines for older adults must include exercises that involve moving your muscles and joints. No matter the intensity of the activity, moving through the full range of motion brings endless benefits.
It’s worth mentioning that as you lift heavier weights and build your strength, you also burn more calories. Subsequently, this helps you prove that the long-held myth that weights make women muscular is false.
In fact, on the contrary, weight training usually makes women smaller. This is because, unlike men, women lack the testosterone levels required to increase muscle girth.
2. Work on Endurance with Cardiovascular Exercises
Cardiovascular fitness helps build a foundation for other exercises.
But don’t embark on an exercise routine with no plan. No, you’ll injure yourself or tire out within no time.
To reach their goals, women need to start somewhere, and that’s with cardiovascular exercises.
Some of the gains you get from cardiovascular exercise include:
- Increased metabolism
- Better circulation
- Controling and help maintain healthy body weight
- Improved mental acuity and body awareness
- Oxygenates blood
The best cardiovascular activity varies from person to person. It depends on what you’re able to do. It’s also vital that it’s something you enjoy doing.
To be sure an exercise class fits you best, observe it beforehand. That way, you’ll understand from class descriptions what it entails so that if you have limited time, you can go for the short class.
3. Increase Your Strength
Over 50 females also benefit a lot from weight or strength training. Therefore, the best exercises for women over 50 should incorporate some form of weight training.
Usually, you use weight machines, dumbbells, or any other weight apparatus such as water bottles to do the training. Alternatively, you can engage in activities like pushups or planks that entail using your body weight.
Weight training has the following benefits:
- It strengthens bones
- Fends off osteoporosis-related problems that come with aging
- Staves off the muscle-fiber loss
According to AARP, people between 50 and 70 years living a sedentary lifestyle are more susceptible to suffering muscle fiber loss. The statistics are worrying, indicating highs of up to 30%.
In addition, the rate of bone loss for women over 50 is wanting. Hence, there’s no doubt why you need to incorporate weight-bearing exercises into your workout program.
Start slowly with lightweight training as you progress, targeting every muscle group in your body. Soon your muscle strength and endurance will improve.
4. Increase Balance
One thing you might not have considered is how much your natural balance can change as you age.
The aging process can cause you to lose muscle mass, which can affect your natural balance. Additionally, when you reach menopause, you begin to lose bone mass and density. Thus, falls can become more serious as your bones become weaker.
The changes to your balance, muscle mass and bones make it necessary to keep in good shape. Having good balance will allow you to catch yourself before you fall to prevent injuries.
Some Exercises to Try
Here are some of the best exercises for women over 50 that you can use to improve your overall fitness in each category.
Exercises for Flexibility
It can be frustrating to find that you don’t have the flexibility you had in high school but don’t fret. You don’t have to be able to twist yourself into a pretzel to benefit from stretching.
Stretching can keep you from injuring muscles as you do more strenuous activities.
There are three different types of stretches that you can add to your exercise routine: static, isometric, or dynamic.
For static stretches, you stretch and hold the position for an extended time. Some of the best static stretches you can find are beginner yoga stretches. Here are a few easy ones to try:
- Downward dog
- Seated forward bend
- Wide-legged forward bend
- Extended triangle pose
For isometric stretches, you contract and relax your muscles while you hold a stretch.
When you contract muscles already in a stretched position, you stretch additional muscle fibers. This extra stretching can keep you from pulling muscles during cardio exercise.
Be sure to only do one exercise per muscle group during each exercise session and hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds.
Dynamic stretches are stretches that you do while actively moving your muscles in a repetitive exercise. Some examples include:
- Head rolls
- Walking lunges
- Arm circles
- Leg swings
- Hip circles
You might want to grab onto something for balance for the leg swings and hip circles.
Exercises for Endurance
When you think about adding in cardio exercises for endurance, they can come in the form of something that you can do around your neighborhood or city, classes you can attend, or exercises you do in the privacy of your home.
Low-impact endurance activities you can do around your community include:
- Playing tennis
- Brisk walking
Options that you can do at home, with online instruction, or in classes at a gym include:
- Water aerobics
- Cross-country skiing
- Stair climbing
- Belly dancing
- Yard Work
There also subscription based online systems that come with some piece of home gym equipment such as:
Exercises for Strength
Strength-building exercises can be with weights, resistance, your own body weight, or everyday objects like groceries.
Some strength-building exercises include:
- Lifting weights
- Resistance bands
- Carrying groceries
- Wall pushups
- Arm curls and overhead arm curls
- Strengthening yoga poses like Boat, Chair, and Dolphin Plank
Exercises for Balance
Some effective balance exercises that you can do to improve your balance include:
- Tai Chi
- Balance yoga poses like Mountain, Tree, Warrior 3, and Triangle
- Standing on one foot
- Specific walking styles like the heel-to-toe walk and the balance walk
Weekly Exercise Routine for Over 50 Woman
If you have health issues, be sure to get an all-clear from your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Then, make sure to add in exercises for flexibility, balance, endurance, and strength.
Many over-50 women choose to add Pilates or yoga classes into their health routine because they are excellent choices for:
- Enhanced flexibility and core strength
- Balance and stability
- Overall mobility
- Increased strength and muscle tone
It’s a good idea to start every cardio or strength workout with a few flexibility exercises. A few isometric stretches can help prevent pulled or cramped muscles.
Flexibility exercises also make good cooldowns after cardio and strength workouts.
As you get older, we would suggest doing a few balance exercises at least three times per week.
It can be helpful to combine balance exercises with flexibility exercises at the beginning of an exercise session.
Cardio and Endurance
You will want to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. That’s only a little over 20 minutes of moderate activity each day.
Aim for exercise levels that increase your breathing and feel challenging.
The easiest way to add physical activity into your life is to make exercise a part of your daily and weekly habits:
- Take a walk or bicycle ride every evening.
- Choose an online workout to follow like Fitness Blender instead of a Netflix binge.
- Join a class at the gym.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Get up at work to talk with co-workers instead of emailing or calling them.
- Choose the farthest parking spot from your destination.
- Do yard work on the weekends.
- Plan a hike once or twice a month.
You can break your activities into small chunks of time, but doctors recommend doing at least aerobic exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Work on strengthening your muscles at least twice a week.
Try using weights or resistance bands while you engage in a little Netflix binge-watching therapy. However, if you’re using weights, be sure to choose ones that aren’t too heavy, and do 10-12 repetitions with 2-3 sets.
Choose exercises that include all major muscle groups:
Before You Go
The secret to getting in more exercise is to engage in activities you enjoy doing, whatever that may be. The best exercises for women over 50 include activities that promote flexibility, endurance, strength, and balance exercises into your daily and weekly habits.