Staying fit as you age can be quite the challenge. Between the loss of muscle mass, strength, mobility, and testosterone, aging can catch up to men quickly after they reach 50. Additionally, poor exercise programs can lead to back pain and other lingering issues that you begin to notice as you age. The good news is that there are plenty of great exercises for men to stay fit after 50. In fact, you can actually reverse some effects of aging through resistance training and regular exercise.
The following are my top eight exercises for men to stay fit after 50. Perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions per exercise one to two times per week. When combined with a good diet and healthy lifestyle, this workout program can help you age gracefully, stay in great shape, and maintain independence after hitting 50.
As with any new exercise routine, it’s always a smart idea to check in with a certified fitness or medical professional to see what movements receive the green light for you to safely perform at your age and stage of life. Exercising should not be a painful experience, so if you ever experience any sort of pain, you should immediately stop and reevaluate again with a professional.
Keep reading to learn all about the best exercises for men to stay fit after 50, and for more workout inspiration, check out 7 Best Exercises for Men to Gain Muscle Without Equipment.
I recommend squats for virtually every client capable of performing them. You don’t have to use a barbell squat, either. Choose a squat method that challenges you but remains doable. This can mean doing box squats with just your body weight, adding a kettlebell to perform a goblet squat, or going heavier with barbell squats.
Regardless of which squat variation you choose, keep your knees in line with your toes, avoid letting your torso fall forward, and aim to get your thighs parallel to the floor.
Keeping your upper body strong and maintaining the range of motion in your shoulders is vital for overall fitness and day-to-day strength. Choose overhand, neutral, or reverse grip pull-ups. If you cannot perform pull-ups with your body weight, you can perform negative pull-ups by jumping to the top of the bar and slowly lowering yourself.
Pushups are a great exercise for several reasons. First off, they work your chest and shoulder muscles in a coordinated and functional way. And second, the core stability required to avoid letting your hips sag to the ground means you get the added benefits of core training in the same exercise.
You can make pushups easier by placing your hands on an elevated surface. Conversely, you can increase the difficulty by elevating your feet or moving your hands closer together.
Some variation of a deadlift is a must when it comes to staying fit. Standard barbell deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts are both popular options. You can also use dumbbells or kettlebells as your resistance.
To perform a standard deadlift, begin with your knees and hips bent and your chest at a 40 to a 45-degree angle relative to the floor. Drive through the floor with both feet to lift the weight until your hips and knees are locked out.
For Romanian deadlifts, begin with a slight bend in the knees, then hinge forward at the waist to reach the barbell. Romanian deadlift variations hit the hamstrings and glutes more, while standard deadlifts shift more load to the quads.
5. Overhead Press
Overhead pressing is a must for maintaining upper body strength and mobility. Everything from reaching for tools to screwing in lightbulbs requires you to be able to reach overhead and exert some force.
You can use barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells to overhead press. When pressing, do not allow your shoulders to shrug, and always press the weight to full lockout.
Rows are movements that involve horizontal pulling and hit the major muscle groups in your upper back and biceps. My favorite rowing exercise is the bent-over single-arm dumbbell row. You can perform the same lift with a kettlebell. Additionally, you can perform bent-over barbell rows to hit both sides at once.
Regardless of your rowing exercise choice, avoid letting your shoulders shrug, and focus on “squeezing” your shoulder blades together as you finish the row.
Lunges are an excellent functional exercise for your lower body. They mimic the standard gait and help improve balance, coordination, and athleticism alongside strength and muscle building. I prefer dumbbell lunges with the dumbbells held at your side. You can perform kettlebell lunges as well, or even rack a barbell across your upper back.
When lunging, take a deep step forward, and then lower your back knee toward the ground as you bend your front leg. Push through the floor to either step back to the starting position if lunging in place, or take your next step with the opposite leg if performing walking lunges.
8. Standing Rotations
Incorporating some form of rotational core exercise is important to keep your core strong and your spine healthy as you age. I like standing cable rotations if the equipment is available. However, Russian twists, medicine ball twists, or resistance band rotations are also great options.
Whichever twist variation you choose, do not round your spine when rotating. Begin in a neutral spine position, and rotate through your hips and torso to perform each rotation. Repeat on both sides.
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