Let’s face the facts: Getting a fitter body after 50 will require hard work and dedication—especially if you haven’t been as active as you were in your younger years. Your body goes through many changes as you grow older, including the loss of lean muscle mass and a slower metabolism. (Ah, the beauty of aging!) Even though some of these changes may be difficult to accept, you can take control of the healthy lifestyle you lead, from wellness to diet to exercise. Staaying active and maintaining a fit physique is incredibly important, so we’re here with some secret tricks for getting a fitter body after 50 that you’ll want to add to your routine right now.
When it comes to achieving a lean, toned body, the goal is to build muscle mass and lose fat. This means strength training on a regular basis and not skipping out on cardio. However, if you’re already doing both, read on to learn about these expert-backed tricks that’ll help you along your journey. Check them out below.
As you age, not only do you lose strength, but also power. In order to maintain it, consider kicking off your workouts with an exercise that requires power. Doing so will wake up your central nervous system (CNS), get you prepped to perform your workout, allow you to recruit more muscle fibers, and help you burn more fat.
Below are two movements you can incorporate:
For this exercise, hold a giant medicine ball close to your chest, and get close to a wall. Keeping your chest tall and core tight, pass the ball hard against the wall. Catch it as it bounces back before performing another rep. Complete 8 to 10 reps.
With your feet shoulder-width distance apart, grab a giant medicine ball. Raise it above your head, then slam the weight down onto the floor, flexing your abs hard as you finish. Squat with a straight back to pick the ball up before performing another rep. Complete 10 reps.
Many individuals in their 50s tend to gravitate toward steady-state cardio. Although you do want to have a good aerobic base, you can’t neglect anaerobic work through interval training.
Besides losing power and strength, your anaerobic capacity also decreases with age, so it’s critical to challenge your body in order to maintain it. Start incorporating some sprint work on a bike, rowing machine, or even some sample interval workouts on a treadmill.
When it comes to strength training into your 50s, you also need to maintain good joint health. The heavy weights you worked with in your 20s and 30s may not be the best for you in your 50s. I recommend incorporating higher reps (8-12 zone) and techniques to increase the time under tension. One way to do so is by implementing 1 ¼ reps. Once you’re at the end of the eccentric portion (or lowering) of an exercise, come up ¼ of the way, then lower back down, then finish the movement. That counts as 1 rep.
Here’s an example:
For this exercise, lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights straight above your body with your arms fully extended. Pull your shoulder blades back and down into the bench as you lower the dumbbells toward your chest. Get a solid chest stretch, then press the weights back up ¼ of the way. Come back down again for another stretch, then drive the dumbbells up to the starting position, squeezing your pecs and triceps at the top. Complete 6 to 8 reps.