According to doctors and fitness professionals, it’s never too late to start working out!
Okay, okay, okay… let me admit a fact about myself right off the bat: my 54-year-old body is not what it once was. So in that regard, I will be frank with everyone and just lay it out there that I’m no longer in the same physical shape to do the things I used to do in my twenties or thirties. But I guess that’s normal. At least that’s what my doctor says when I tell him I can no longer squat as I used to when I was younger.
Nevertheless, I refuse to give up. Yep, you got that right, I’ll never give up. As time passes, I’m still not in the right state of mind to just stop working out and give in. I exercise at least three times a week and take great pride doing so. I believe it’s essential to remain active is crucial to my independence and to promote a good quality of life. Studies show physical inactivity is related to numerous health risks, including various heart conditions, type 2 diabetes and depression, all of which most people want to avoid.
So, perhaps you’re wondering about the best workouts or ways to exercise when we reach half a century? Fair enough. While HIIT workouts and rigorous gym upper or lower-body workouts are great when we’re younger, they may not be suitable for people our age starting an exercise routine.
Below are four creative ways to exercise for those over age 50, all of which I incorporate into my monthly exercise routine.
How To Begin Exercising After Age 50
Before we get to the fun part, let’s make one thing clear—if you haven’t exercised in some time now—see your doctor first. At our age, it’s essential to first assess our physical fitness with the help of a physician. While there’s almost no absolute contraindications to working out, some physical or medical conditions may require we make adjustments and alterations to our exercises.
For example, if you have the so-called “silent disease” osteoporosis, you should definitely add some impact exercise and weight training to your regimen. These exercises help build some much-needed bone mass and slow the degeneration of our bones.
On the other hand, if you have problems with arthritis, impact exercises and weight training sessions could bother your joints. In that case, low-impact cardiovascular activities, like biking or swimming, are better.
After getting your physician’s go ahead, it’s time to have some fun. Keep in mind that when first starting, it’s recommended you begin with exercises and activities that are both enjoyable and familiar. For example, taking a long walk or riding a bike may be perfect for you. Also, starting slow is smart when it comes to our age. The goal here is to slowly build healthy habits and increase our physical activity over time gradually.
Play Golf Like You’re the Next Tiger Woods!
There’s no point in starting this list with something I don’t or only occasionally enjoy. For that reason, I’m going to start with my favorite way to exercise to stay in good shape and spirits. Whenever I have the chance, I play golf.
Most of the benefits of golf come from the looooong walking, as the average round accounts for more than 10,000 steps – or about 5 miles! Besides walking, your swing uses the whole body and demands top-notch balance and calm focus. Plus, you can always opt to pull or carry your own clubs, which adds to the workout.
Find a local public course to get started. Not only will golf provide good exercise for both men and women, the fresh air and stress relief are a wonderful bonus.
Play Tennis Like You’re Andy Roddick!
Instead of Andy Roddick, I know I could tell you to play tennis like you’re Novak, Rafa Nadal, or Roger Federer. But I consider myself an old-school guy and Andy Roddick was my guy. You may remember he had the fastest serve ever.
All racquet sports, including tennis, ping-pong, pickleball, badminton, and squash, are great for keeping folks alive longer by lowering their chances of getting any form of heart disease. For example, research shows playing tennis three or four times a week is linked to better reaction times and stamina, lower body fat, and higher “good” HDL cholesterol.
Plus, racquet sports build bones, particularly in our arms, back, and neck. If you want to enjoy a less intense and good social workout, call your buddies and play some doubles on your nearest public court.
Ride That Bike Like You’re Preparing to be the Next Lance Armstrong! (Before the Doping Scandal)
Next, when the weather’s good, I really do enjoy getting the bike down off the wall in my garage to ride for an hour. I especially enjoy riding when I can watch the sunset. Biking is particularly good when you have sore or stiff joints because your legs don’t need to support your weight while riding.
In addition, the action gets your blood pumping and moving, thus building muscles on both the front and back of your hips and legs. Finally, you use your arms and shoulders to steer the handle and your abs for balance. And since there’s resistance involved, you’re also strengthening your bones. In a nutshell, biking is a great total body exercise.
Swim Like You’re About to Rob Michael Phelps of His Olympic Record!
Last but definitely not least, I really do enjoy an occasional swim in my local indoor pool. With swimming, there’s no stress on your joints, and the water provides resistance that help build bones and muscles.
Swimming laps or pool lengths burns calories and works your heart, with little chance you will overheat. In addition, the moisture helps people with asthma breathe better, and improve their mindset.
If you believe age 50 is too late to start exercising, remember that the U.S. life expectancy is currently just short of 79 years. That means at age 50 or 55, you’re still likely looking at living close to another 25 to 30 years.
Regardless of whether you’re in your 50s, 60s, or even older, regular exercise is recommended, along with good dietary and sleep habits, to prolong your quantity and improve the quality of your life. Find an activity you enjoy and get started!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Gutman is the Editor-In-Chief at BarBend. He was a former associate editor at Muscle & Fitness and contributes to a variety of publications such as Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, and Spartan Race. Outside of work, Andrew’s hobbies include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, watching martial arts competitions, weight training, and trying new recipes from his favorite online food content creators.
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