Once we approach fifty, we can feel the body changing. I’ve seen the years after 50 described as the 2nd act of our life. I wouldn’t quite see it as that distinct, but there are sure signs that the body doesn’t do what it used to. You want to stay fit and well to keep doing all the other things in life – working, spending time with the kids, grandkids and seeing the world. With this in mind, let’s look at the best exercises for men over 50.
We can develop health problems in our 40’s and 50’s. We don’t want these to take over our life. Staying in shape is important. But we can’t stay in shape the same ways as we used to ten years ago, twenty years ago. There are some exercises that will punish rather than perfect our fitness.
Why Is Exercise Important?
There are some really important reasons to exercise. Let’s lay it down quickly here before we look at the exercises –
- Look after your spine – back problems increase with age
- Keep the weight off – our metabolism slows
- Look after the joints – you still need flexibility
- Reduce the risk of heart problems – exercise strengthens the heart
- Stop muscle and bone loss – we lose these as we get older too
- Maintain energy levels – stay energised
Now we know why we should exercise, let’s take a look at what you can do. These are the best exercises for men over 50.
What Is This Article About?
Great question. There are many articles out there that will give you different ideas about exercise. We’ve just compiled some everyday exercises that will help you look after your body. These are designed to build muscle, maintain balance, look after the spine and joints. These are things that you can do at home, every day of your life. They can be carried out on their own or in conjunction with something like running, cycling or swimming. Whatever works for you.
The upper body can suffer as you get older, so you have to get those muscles moving. A push up isn’t always the punishment we remember it being when we were at school. Time has moved on. And it doesn’t take many push-ups a day to make a real difference.
It sounds so simple, but we need to push all the time. And these muscles could always do with being a bit stronger. The more weight you carry, the more you will need strong arms, biceps chest and shoulders to manage that weight.
So, the push up comes into its own here. It is designed, like many of these exercises, to use the weight of your body as the natural lever to get you in shape. So, you don’t need weights. You don’t need a gym. And that means you don’t have any excuses!
There are loads of variations of the push up from the kneeling push up for beginners to the one-handed push up for experts. Start where you feel comfortable and build up to the more expert thigs as time goes by. You will feel your muscles develop day after day if you keep this up. It doesn’t take much to get your push up routine on shape. And your body will follow. Set aside a few minutes for this every day and reap the benefits.
Now you need a bar (or a sturdy tree branch) for this. Like the push up, it uses all of the muscles that you will need for pulling, and upper body strength. Again, you are using your own body weight as the lever. There is no need for weights or other equipment. Although we do recommend that you invest in a quality pull up bar. We’ve all seen the You’ve Been Framed videos with someone flying off the bar and to the ground. Funny when it happens to someone else. Not as funny when you get a hard landing over the age of fifty.
If you need to start off solely then make sure you have a chair under your feet and use this for balance while you build up the necessary muscles. In no time at all you’ll be ding these unaided. And carrying out more reps than you thought possible.
Look to build up your strength and the number of repetitions with all of these as time goes on. And then get better and better each day.
Another exercise that needs a little bit of equipment, but these don’t cost the earth. And an investment in your health is vitally important as you get a little older. And this is far cheaper than joining the gym, that’s for sure. There are sets that include dumbbells and barbells, which you’ll need for the next exercise.
This might be something you add to your routine after a few weeks, as you build up strength and power. Using weights adds a new element to any exercise routine. But there are risks here too. Look to start off with low weights and build up. Starting heavy can cause an injury which might set you back for weeks. Always look to get a little better each day. It’s much better than trying to start with the heavy stuff and causing yourself a mischief.
Your shoulders, plus the front and back or your torso will benefit massively from regular dumbbell raises. Look for side and lateral dumbbell raises (YouTube if you don’t know what these are.)
This means you put the pressure on the muscle, where you want it, rather than the joints, where you really don’t. The joints have had enough wear and tear from daily use without putting them under more pressure with your workout. Plus, this exercise needs very little in the way of mobility and flexibility. This means you don’t have to be flexible before you start. That will come from many of the other exercises on this list.
Bent over barbell rows
If you’re buying a set if dumbbells, then you might as well get the barbell to go with it. The weights are interchangeable so you save money there.
This is where you start to work the core muscles. The core is vitally important to help maintain balance and stave off back problems. As we get older, the pressure on the lower back and spine increases massively. Look after yourself well with a strong core. I had huge back problems before working hard on my core. In fact, it worked so well, I wrote a book about it.
A healthy and strong core will take you a long way in life. Pulling the barbell up works the –
- Lower back
- Upper back
Pretty impressive for just one exercise. Like all of the exercises in this article, take a look on YouTube if you’re not sure what to do. It’s better to be armed with information than have a go and find you’re causing problems or getting injured.
As you first do this exercise, you may well feel some strain on your back. This is natural. As long as it is pain that you can handle, then it will most likely be the muscles reacting and developing. Keep an eye on this but accept the aching as part of the process. The short-term pain is worth it as you get a long term benefit from back exercise. You need a strong back for the rest of your life. And when you’re in your 60’s and 70’s or beyond it is much more difficult to do something about it.
Let’s get back to the best exercise men can do without any extra equipment. Using the weight and resistance naturally there in your body is a good way to work out. It’s time for squats. Some people love them. Others hate them. But you Can’t get away from their effectiveness. This works your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Of course, there are many different types of squats, so you might need to do a little research to find the ones that work best for you. As with anything., a little bit of (safe) trial and error is a great way to find out what works and develop your knowledge here. One of the key elements of a good squat is one that also develops the core while protecting the back. As we get older, the back can cause a great deal of pain. The gaps between the discs close up and you can end up in a lot of discomfort – or worse.
All of these exercises are designed to build strength as the best exercises for men over 50. But we need to think about the body as a whole – not just the area we’re exercising. So, a squat (or any other exercise here) that puts strain on the back isn’t going to be any good. Listen to your body. Feel the way it moves and the way each joint interacts to determine whether this is going to be a good one for you. If not, adjust and adapt. We’re human, after all.
A lunge is another of the best exercises for men over 50 that doesn’t use any additional equipment. If you don’t feel enough of a burn from squats, then try a lunge. This is the exercise that takes the squat to the next level, working the back of the legs. If you spend a lot of time at a desk sat down, then the back of your legs deteriorate. The hamstrings become tighter and the muscles weaken. And that means the potential of back problems, reduced flexibility and issues with the hips.
Lunges are a great exercise to take away this degeneration and build up those muscles, while lengthening the hamstrings. Start slowly with this one and build up.
This exercise has a reputation. One that it deserves. The plank is the star of many YouTube videos, Facebook profiles and memes. And it is something that can help you build your fitness. If carried out correctly. This really is one of the best exercises for men over 50.
If you carry it out correctly, then it works the ore without the risk of injury to the joints. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, try a few and see how perfect it feels!
The fact that there is no movement in the plank exercise means that there is little strain and stress on the joints. And your muscles are contracted all the time you’re in the plank position, so you develop the core quickly and effectively.
Best Exercises For Men Over 50
This is our version of the Best Exercises For Men Over 50. But that doesn’t mean that these are the only exercises you can partake in. Wat works for you? It might not be one of these. Experience is the key to all of this. Once you’ve tried each of these a few times, you will be able to pull together a routine that works for you. Setting aside only ten minutes or so a day to create and perfect an exercise routine will pay dividends
We’re here to help men approaching the age of fifty to get the most from their life. And I firmly believe that your fitness is at the core of all of these other items. So, whether you’re looking to start something new, maintain what you have or start again, this website will have the answers and inspiration for you. And if there’s something you don’t see covered? Get in touch. Maybe you could write for us. Maybe you have some ideas of your own. We’d love to hear from you.