Health And Wellness

Exercise At 50 Years Old & Above: A Beginner's Guide

Published on 03 Apr 2022

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Seek help from a fitness trainer who specialises in guiding seniors.

It is no secret that regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy body and mind. As we grow older, it is vital to choose a workout that can meet our fitness goals and accommodate for injuries that we may have.

In this article, we share how those above 50 years of age can pick the right exercise, and some fitness tips! Stick around to check out our recommended list of beginner-friendly fitness programmes!

Steps to choosing a suitable exercise programme

1. Define your fitness goals

Set clear fitness goals to help you zoom in on the types of physical activity you should be doing. Want to reduce your risk of diabetes or heart disease? Cardio workouts are your go-to in lowering blood sugar levels and preventing obesity in the long run. But if you’re trying to prevent muscle and joint stiffness, exercises that enhance flexibility will be more suitable for you.

Should you want to maintain lean muscle mass, walk further distances and improve your ability to remain independent as you grow older, strength training will be your go-to!

2. Balance it up

A well-balanced routine is made up of four essential exercises.1 Here’s what you need to know about each type:

  • Strength training is best for combating and even reversing age-related muscle loss. If you are not familiar with exercise, consider a strength training routine first before starting on other programmes. This is because those who are inactive and above the age of 50 are at higher risk of frailty due to weaker muscle tone2.
  • Endurance training and aerobics exercises are all about getting your heart rate up for better cardiovascular and lung health. It’s important for better stamina, weight loss, blood sugar regulation and lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Balance exercises strengthen the muscles in your core, legs, knees and hips. These muscles are responsible for preventing falls. Squats and single leg balancing are some exercises to strengthen your lower body so that you can walk further and faster, improve balance, and go about your daily life with confidence.
  • Flexibility exercises prevent stiff joints and sore muscles, which are common ailments as we grow older. Include stretching exercises into your routine to move more freely and stay agile even as you age, and reduce post-workout soreness.

3. Find a fitness routine that you enjoy

You are more likely to stick to a routine when you’re having fun, so choose a workout that suits your interests. If you enjoy exercising in a group, round up some buddies and even family members to join a fitness class a few days a week. Keep it interesting by including hikes or biking trails in your routine to make the most of your experience.

4. Select a comfortable level of intensity

Physical activity that is too intense for your fitness level can quickly burn you out, or worse, cause an injury. Start slow if you are prone to joint pain, have a past injury, or are new to exercise.

Try low to moderate intensity circuit training or aqua aerobics to build strength and endurance before moving on to more intense workouts.

5. Hire a professional trainer

If you are worried about how your old injuries may affect your exercise regime, or if you need more guidance and motivation, seek out a personal trainer or trainer-led classes. A qualified professional can customise a routine to your needs, and ensure you perform the exercises safely and reduce the risk of injury.

Effective and fun workouts for above 50s

Now that you know what to look out for, here are some of our recommended exercise programmes to get you started! Do consult a doctor before proceeding with any new exercise if you have any health concerns. Remember, safety first!

Train the right way with Gym Tonic

Do you find climbing stairs, pushing doors and walking long distances challenging? If the answer is yes, this gym programme might be the thing for you.

Gym Tonic takes participants through a low intensity strength training routine, using special hydraulic FREI machines that are gentle on your joints. Each 45-minute group session is designed to build the muscle strength and bone density you need for an active lifestyle.

Participants can expect fitness and functional assessments by a dedicated trainer, followed by a customised training programme formulated just for you. Make progress at your pace, without the stress of exerting yourself.

A local study showed that a majority of Gym Tonic participants improved in walking speed, and lower body muscle strength.

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Work on your balance, strength and cardio all in one session with Circuit Training!

Work up a sweat and burn calories with Circuit Training

Developed by physiotherapists, this moderate-intensity programme uses gym machines that are mild on the muscles and joints, and combines balance and strength training with cardio exercise. This combination makes it one of the best routines for overall fitness, with benefits for heart disease prevention, weight loss, diabetes and high blood pressure management in the long run.

Work up a sweat with short bursts of activity between rest periods. There’s simply no time to get bored at Circuit Training as you move from machine to machine and work on different muscle groups!

This well-rounded exercise programme will have you burning calories at a faster rate, and long after the 45-minute session is over.

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Condition your body with Functional Strength Training!

Up your daily performance with Functional Strength Training

Don’t let age rob you of your ability to perform daily activities like bending down, getting up or reaching for items on the shelf. Start training now to keep your body working the way you want.

Functional Strength Training is a 45-minute body weight and equipment workout that’s all about conditioning your body to perform daily activities well, so you don’t have to worry about losing your independence as you age.

This moderate intensity workout helps with improving your range of motion, balance, flexibility and strength by focusing on five key body movements. Push, pull, lift, squat and hinge your way through different stations, while making use of fitness equipment such as tube resistance bands, dumbbells and fitness balls for a full body workout.

Summary

Still looking for a suitable fitness programme for your needs? Find out more at NTUC Health’s active ageing services, or email us at fitness@ntuchealth.sg so we can help you out!

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