getting into shape after 50 with three exercises that reverse ageing (1)
Lifestyle

Getting in shape after 50: Three exercises that reverse aging

5 min read |

Getting into shape after 50 should be a priority if you want to reverse the detrimental effects of age on your body.

Growing older is not in itself a bad thing, as with age comes wisdom and a lifetime of experience.

However the physical effects of age on our bodies can impact our physical and mental health if left unaddressed.

This article will cover the best way of getting into shape after 50 with three exercises that reverse ageing.

Remember to always seek medical advice if you have any concerns about exercising.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover in this article:

  • Ageing inevitably causes muscles to deteriorate over time. This can increase the risk of disability and falls as well as other health implications. 
  • The best exercises that reverse ageing are called compound strength training movements. These target multiple muscle groups at the same time to provide a fuller body workout. 
  • If you plan on getting in shape after 50, there are 3 exercises that reverse ageing which you should know. These include movements with weights such as squats, lifts and pulls.
exercise to reverse aging (1)

Why is getting in shape after 50 important?

Even if you haven’t exercised regularly in years, it’s never too late to get started. 

As we age the body loses muscle mass which can lead to people becoming frail as they get older. 

This is a process known as sarcopenia, which inhibits muscle mass, strength and function. 

One study on sarcopenia found that muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30. 

Decline in muscle mass

This rate of decline becomes higher after age 60, with a potential for 50% muscle mass loss by the 80s. 

In addition to this, ageing reduces bone density which can lead to becoming very frail in older age. 

Without attending to declining muscle and bones, older people risk disabling injuries and falls that can be life limiting.

Can exercise reverse ageing?

An exercise regime that includes muscle work can mitigate some of the impact of ageing and contribute to overall strength. 

This is essential for building muscle which would otherwise deteriorate as you age. 

When building muscles you may add weights to your movements, or try using different strengths of resistance bands. 

This is known as resistance training.

Resistance training

Resistance training is the use of weights or other external resistance paired with push or pull movements. 

This type of exercise should be integrated into an exercise routine through rounds of 5-15 repetitions per movement.

Exercising to reverse ageing aims to build muscle and reverse sarcopenia. 

This is why it’s so important to maintain strength if you want to avoid reduced mobility and increased fall risk. 

Always seek the advice of a GP or personal trainer if you have any concerns about exercising.

What exercises help with ageing?

The best exercises that help with ageing are known as compound strength training movements. 

These types of exercises target four major movement patterns which include squat, hinge, push, and pull.

There are many variations of these four basic strength principles, so find what works best for your body. 

Your exercise regime should be made for you personally and adapted for any changes or injuries. 

Benefits of compound exercises

Benefits of compound exercises include:

  1. Getting your heart rate up
  2. Building muscle and strength 
  3. More efficient calorie burn
  4. Improving mobility and coordination

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The Big Five Compound Exercises

There are 5 main groups of compound exercises which personal trainers and movement professionals refer to as the Big 5

The Big 5 compound exercises are composed of squat, deadlift, chest press, pull up and overhead press. 

These are all simple exercises which many people will have tried before. They are easy to perform and don’t require any specialist equipment or technical skill. 

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, some of these exercises could also be merged together. 

This will increase difficulty and allow you to make the most of your exercise time. 

For example, you could combine a squat with an overhead press. 

But let’s stick to the basics for now! 

Top 3 exercises for over 50s

Here are the three most popular exercises for individuals over 50 who want to improve muscle strength.

dumbbell squat

1. Dumbbell or kettlebell squat

  • Holding your dumbbells or kettlebell, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart. 
  • Bring the weights up to a comfortable height – this could be in front of your chest or at shoulder height and prepare. 
  • Squat down while holding the weights at the same height and return to standing. Only go as low as is comfortable.
  • Repeat for around 10 reps or however many is comfortable.

Tips for the squat:

  • Keep your knees steady and tracking forward
  • When returning to standing push the hips forward and squeeze the buttocks. 
  • Keep the back flat and eyes facing forward.
  • Don’t forget to breathe when returning to standing. 

Start slowing with this exercise and build up your strength and repetitions gradually.

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deadlift with dumbbells

2. Deadlift with dumbbells

  • Start with the dumbbells in front of you on the floor and stand with feet hip width apart.
  • Fold forward to grasp the weights and begin your exercise.
  • Keeping your arms and back straight, engage the legs and glutes. Keep a small bend in the knee and lift the weights up to return to standing position. 
  • Repeat for around 10 reps or however many is comfortable.

Tips for the deadlift:

  • Squeeze buttocks at the top.
  • Be mindful of your back and keep it strong.
  • Keep the back flat and eyes facing forward.
  • Don’t forget to breathe when returning to standing. 

Start slowing with this exercise and build up your strength and repetitions gradually.

 

lying down bench press (1)

3. Bench press

  • Lie on your back on a flat bench. Or sit straight in a chair.
  • Slowly lift the bar or dumbbells off the rack and go to the start position holding the weight above you.
  • Lower the bar to the chest allowing elbows to bend out to the side at a 45 degree angle from the body.
  • Repeat for around 10 reps or however many is comfortable.

Tips for the bench press

  • Press your feet firmly into the ground.
  • Keep your core engaged throughout the movement- do not arch your back.
  • If a bench isn’t available, try a standing chest press with weights or a resistance band using the same motion.

If you’re looking to improve your flexibility and start the day in the right way, then why not read our guide on simple and easy to follow morning stretches.

Or why not try chair yoga for seniors.

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