As the saying goes: Age is just a number. Don’t let age deter you from exercising. If you’re not regularly active, it’s never too late! For women, being physically active over the age of 50 can combat symptoms of menopause, including joint pain, hot flashes and sleep problems. As we age, exercising daily may also lower the risk of developing osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. Try incorporating these fitness tips into your daily routine to feel good and stay healthy over 50.
Senior Fitness Routines & Tips for Women
Walking is one of the best cardio exercises that can easily be incorporated into your daily fitness routine. Just toss on a pair of sneakers and go! For women over 50, regular walking is a low-impact aerobic exercise that offers the benefits of controlling weight, improving flexibility, toning muscles and boosting mood.
Walking requires no special equipment, and it can be done anywhere alone or with friends. Find opportunities to walk throughout your day, whether it’s with your dog, when running errands, enjoying fresh air or catching up with friends.
Strength training (2-3 times a week)
Weight training for women over 50 is extremely important. Women over 50 begin losing muscle mass, which can result in slower fat burning. Lifting weights helps you build strength, giving you the ability to accomplish everyday tasks independently. One added benefit: a tightened and toned body. Performing weight bearing exercises such as lifting weights can also help to fight off osteoporosis by building bone mineral density.
High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT (2 -3 times a week)
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a super effective, time saving, full-body workout. A HIIT workout combines short bursts of intense exercise with periods of lower-intensity exercise (or a rest period) lasting about 15 minutes in total. It can be a tough workout, challenging your cardio and strength, so start at your own pace and take breaks as needed. HIIT training workouts can be a time-efficient way to burn calories and improve heart health.
An example of a beginner HIIT workout could be regular pace walking for 1 minute, increase your pace for 30 seconds then return to regular pace. Repeat this sequence for 10 minutes, working your way up to 15 minutes.
The great thing about a HIIT workout is that you can build it to your liking. Include exercises such as jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges or planks. The choice is yours! Your workout and intensity should be tailored to your fitness level.
Core exercises (3-5 times a week)
Core strength often becomes weaker as we age. If you notice your shoulders slumped over and pain in your lower back, it may be a result of a weakening core. Other aches and pains affected by a weak core and poor alignment may be neck pain, aching knees and sore hips.
Our core muscles include not only the abdominal muscles but also muscles in the back, chest and glutes. Adding a short 20-minute core workout to your weekly routine can improve or maintain core stability and strength. Maintain core muscles by performing easy body-weight exercises, such as planks, reverse crunches or bicycle twists, which force your core to contract while stabilizing the body. Remember to keep posture strong by standing up straight with your shoulders back.
Stretching (3-5 times a week)
Flexibility is incredibly important as we age. It helps reduce the risk of injury, improves balance and allows your muscles to work more efficiently. Other benefits of flexibility include:
- Decreases chronic pain in joints
- Improves the ability to perform daily physical activities
- Improves posture and reduces hunching over
Try stretching for 10 to15 minutes three to five times per week. Pilates and yoga not only improve flexibility but also build core strength.
Women over 50 typically aren’t eating enough protein, which is necessary to maintain lean muscle mass. To reduce the impact of muscle loss, ensure you’re eating enough protein. The major building blocks of protein need to be replenished daily because they aren’t stored in the body. Complete proteins, which contain the essential amino acids for muscle strength, include fish, eggs and meats. For vegetarians or vegans, finding protein sources may be more difficult so it is imperative to research and find adequate sources to fill your daily needs.
For women over 50, aim for .45 to .55 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For example, a 135-pound woman should consume 60.75 to 74.25 grams of protein per day.