The Best Exercises for Women Over 50
As women age, our bodies go through metabolic and hormonal changes — body fat shifts, muscle mass decreases, and menopause can wreak havoc on our hormones.
All this can make it a challenge for women over age 50 to stay fit, but exercise is critical to aging well.
For women, staying physically fit can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, depression, overall mood changes, and injury.
1. Prepare before starting an exercise program.
Before beginning any new exercise routine, consult your doctor to make sure your body can handle the regimen.
While exercising, listen to your body. If you feel pain during exercise, stop and evaluate the pain.
For example, if you notice that your knees ache while jogging, it may be time to consider a low-impact activity, like walking.
2. Start with low-impact activity.
Low-impact exercises are not only great for beginners, they are great for women who have arthritis, osteoporosis or injuries, like a bone fracture.
Walking, yoga, and water aerobics are all examples of great low impact exercises for women over 50 that have a big impact on overall bone density and core strength — two of the most important factors in aging well.
3. Ease into it.
As with any new physical activity, start slow and gradually work your way up to more vigorous activity.
Fifteen minutes is a good starting place for beginners. For example, if you’ve just started walking, you might begin with a 15-minute brisk walk around your neighborhood.
Once you can walk for 30 minutes without pain, you might introduce interval training. Interval training can be done with almost any exercise, and alternates between periods of light activity and more strenuous exercise.
This can be a great way to burn a few extra calories, while also strengthening bones and joints.
4. Try weight-bearing exercises.
It is recommended that healthy adults get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and 2-3 strength training sessions per week. Both aerobic and strength training exercises should include weight-bearing activity, which forces your body to act against gravity.
Weight-bearing exercises for women over 50 don't always need to take place in a gym. Raking leaves, walking, and even tennis are great outdoor weight-bearing exercises that help improve overall bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis as we age.
5. Add strength training.
Strength training can be done at any age and helps build muscle mass and maintain bone density.
If the thought of strength training sounds intimidating, it doesn’t have to be! You can use free weights, resistance bands, or even your own body weight to strength train.
A simple way to begin strength training for women over 50 is to start with bodyweight exercises.
Try to do 10-12 repetitions of each exercise, take a short break, and move to the next exercise. As you become comfortable with the moves, add in hand weights. Ideally, your strength training workout should fatigue your muscles, but not cause pain.
When you no longer feel fatigue, you should either increase the weight, increase the number of repetitions or consider doing a second set of each exercise.
After 50, women lose muscle mass and bone density, which can result in a reduced quality of life. Stay fit and fabulous well beyond 50 by maintaining a balance of strength training and aerobic activity. With these types of exercises, 50 never looked so good!
OptimizePMD is a new wellness program under development at PartnerMD. By emphasizing various exercise strategies and explaining the science behind them, OptimizePMD will help participants achieve and maintain optimal physical performance at all stages of life. Check out more OptimizePMD content here. More information coming soon!