Keep on Movin': Exercise After 50
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Regular physical activity is good for people of all ages. However, it is most important for people over 50.
Aging slowly reduces muscle tissue and strength. This makes it hard to move with ease. Daily activities such as chores, shopping, and climbing stairs become more difficult.
Regular exercise can help:
Being physically active also helps prevent long term diseases, such as:
Get a Checkup First
Anyone can be more physically active. Before starting an exercise program, talk to your doctor. This is especially important if you:
Your doctor may advise a special exercise program. This depends on your needs.
Create a Goal
During the day, adults should move more and sit less. Some physical activity is better than none. With your doctor's approval, aim for:
For more health benefits, try these weekly goals:
It is best to slowly work your way up to your goal. The key is to do it safely.
Do a Variety of Activities
Include these exercises in your weekly routine:
Aerobic exercise increases the heart rate for a length of time. Over time, aerobic activity conditions your body in general. It helps your heart and lungs to do more work with less effort.
Strength training helps tone your body and makes all movement easier. It supports your joints and helps prevent falls.
There are many strengthening exercises. Some use:
Exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and lunges also build your muscles. Start slowly with your new routine.
Stretching exercises help keep joints and muscles flexible. They can ease the effects of arthritis and help prevent injuries. A physical trainer can design a stretching program for you.
To have a better exercise session:
Stop exercise right away if you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American College of Sports Medicine
National Institute on Aging
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
Chapter 5: Active older adults. US Department of Health & Human Services website. Available at: https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf. Accessed October 19, 2021.
Exercise and physical activity: Getting fit for life. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/four-types-exercise-can-improve-your-health-and-physical-ability. Accessed October 19, 2021.
How much physical activity do older adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/older_adults/index.htm. Accessed October 19, 2021.
Physical activity for cardiovascular disease prevention. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/physical-activity-for-cardiovascular-disease-prevention. Accessed October 19, 2021.
Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 10/19/2021
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