Table of Contents
- 5 Best Exercises for Women Over 50 To Live Longer
- Understanding the Benefits of Exercise for Women Over 50
- Cardiovascular Exercises for Heart Health
- Strength Training for Stronger Bones and Muscles
- Flexibility and Balance Exercises
- Functional Fitness for Everyday Activities
- Tailoring Your Workout Routine
- Tips for Staying Motivated
- Overcoming Common Barriers
- Pre- and Post-Workout Practices
- Embracing a Holistic Approach to Health
- Additional Resources and References
5 Best Exercises for Women Over 50 To Live Longer
As women get older exercising regularly is one of the best things they can do to maintain their health. It’s very important for women over 50 to make regular exercise a priority to maintain overall health and increase their longevity. These exercises, recommended by fitness experts, medical experts, and physical therapists, will help women over 50 stay healthy and mobile for as long as possible.
Understanding the Benefits of Exercise for Women Over 50
Exercise has benefits for everyone, but for women over 50 exercise has some unique benefits like:
Maintaining bone density: Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density during and after menopause. That can lead to brittle bones, mobility problems, and a tendency towards broken bones later in life. Starting exercise before or around age 50 can help women maintain their bone strength as they age.
Improving heart health: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. More than 44% of women have some type of heart disease. Exercising regularly can help women lower the risk of developing heart disease as they get older.
Boosting metabolism: Women over 50 often struggle with slow metabolism. The hormonal shifts that occur in menopause can significantly slow down the metabolism causing weight gain and other health problems. Regular exercise can kick-start the metabolism and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Fighting depression and anxiety: Hormonal changes due to menopause can increase the risk of developing depression and anxiety. Regular exercise promotes the release of endorphins which can lower the risk of women over 50 developing depression and anxiety.
Cardiovascular Exercises for Heart Health
For women over 50, low-impact cardiovascular exercises that are gentle on the joints but provide a great workout can improve heart health and lower the risk of serious cardiovascular disease. Some of the best heart-healthy exercises for women over 50 are walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, and strength training.
Women who aren’t used to regular exercise should always start out slow and build the intensity of a cardiovascular workout. HIIT training is a great way for women over 50 to improve their heart health in a graduated way.
Strength Training for Stronger Bones and Muscles
Strength training is one of the most recommended types of exercise for women over 50. Women over 50 need to prioritize keeping their bones and muscles strong for good health and strength training is the best way to do that. Physical therapists, doctors, and aging experts all recommend strength training for women over 50. Some of the best strength training exercises for women over 50 are:
- Chair Dips
- Dumbbell Rows
- Bicep Curls
- Arm circles
- Glute bridges
- Overhead press
- Wall pushups
- Tricep press
- Calf stretches
Maintaining proper form is essential to getting the most benefits from strength training. Women should workout a few times with a physical therapist or fitness trainer to make sure they know the proper form for these strength training exercises.
Flexibility and Balance Exercises
Flexibility and balance exercises are also important for women over 50. Performing regular exercise that increases flexibility now will help women stay mobile and able to live independently later on. Regular exercises that can help women increase their flexibility are:
- Tai Chai
When women start flexibility exercises it’s a good idea to start with easy stretching and just five or ten minutes of practice. Build up to longer sessions over time.
Functional Fitness for Everyday Activities
Functional fitness activities, sometimes called occupational therapy, are exercises that mimic daily movements and work the muscles that women need to use every day to live and move independently. Squats, lunges, and planks are all great exercises for women to do daily.
Tailoring Your Workout Routine
Women who aren’t used to exercising regularly should always consult their healthcare provider before trying a new exercise or starting a new regular exercise regimen, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions.
Women over 50 should focus on creating a workout regimen that is well-rounded and includes cardiovascular exercise as well as stretching flexibility exercises, and strength training.
Tips for Staying Motivated
One of the hardest parts about starting a regular exercise routine is not giving up after a few days. Women who want to commit to regular exercise can do things like keep an activity journal, sign up for an exercise class, or find a workout buddy to help them stay motivated to keep exercising. Keeping a workout journal that awards prizes for hitting exercise or weight milestones is a great way to stay motivated.
Overcoming Common Barriers
The most common reason why women over 50 say that they don’t exercise regularly is that they don’t have the time. Work and family responsibilities often make it difficult for women to carve out time for themselves to exercise regularly. Physical limitations, medical conditions, and self-consciousness also can prevent women from exercising even when they know they should.
But it’s still possible for women to make exercise a priority. If time is a problem women can break workouts into shorter bursts of activity. Walking for ten minutes or twenty minutes during lunch or using a pedal cycle machine at their desk can make it easier for women to get cardio exercise daily. Joining a women-only gym or finding a group of women to work out with can eliminate self-consciousness. Or, working with a trainer one on one can also make exercise easier for women.
Pre- and Post-Workout Practices
It’s very important for women over 50 to warm up properly before starting a workout and to cool down and stretch afterward. Not warming up or cooling down can result in muscle tears, strains, and other injuries.
Embracing a Holistic Approach to Health
Healthy aging requires more than just exercise. To stay healthy throughout the aging process women need to make sure that they are eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and exercising regularly. Embracing a holistic approach to health that incorporates all aspects of life will help women stay healthy as they get older.
Exercise may not be fun all the time, but it’s the best thing that women over 50 can do to maintain their health. Getting into the habit of regular exercise now can help women live better, stay healthy, and enjoy living independently as they get older.
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*All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice. Readers should always consult their healthcare providers before starting any new exercise program.