Fine, Fit, and Fabulous after 50

Beginner Exercise Programs for 50-Year-Old Women

It's never too late to begin an exercise program, whether you're 50, 65 or 80. That said, if you're just starting out with physical activity, it's a good idea to look for a program designed with beginners in mind. Often, beginner exercise programs are slower-paced and feature low-impact activities, which can reduce the risk of injury.

When choosing an exercise program for beginners, look for one that combines multiple types of exercise, such as strength training with stretching and aerobic activities. That way, you'll be able to learn a variety of exercises and will get the most value from your class.

Age really is just a number. You might be 55, but look 40 and feel 35. Or, you might be 50, but look and feel 65. It all has to do with how well you care for your body and what you do to stay active. When it comes to exercise, many people assume if they weren't active during their 20s, 30s or 40s, there's no point in getting started in their 50s or even later. Fortunately, that's just not true. It's never too late to start an exercise program. Starting a workout routine can help reverse some of the problems caused by inactivity and can make you feel great about yourself overall.

Benefits of Exercise for Women Over 50

When it comes to your muscles, the saying "use 'em or lose 'em" really holds true. Starting around the age of 50, the average person loses about 1 percent of muscle each year . But the thing is, you don't have to resign yourself to losing muscle. With exercise, you can restore lost muscle, even well into your 90s.

The benefits of exercise don't stop at improving muscle mass and strength. Certain types of exercise can also help improve your bone health. Up until about the age of 30, your body works hard to produce and build up bone. After that, you're more likely to lose bone than to create more bone . Bone loss speeds up even more during menopause because of the reduction in estrogen production. That's when the risk of osteoporosis can really set in.

But bone loss and osteoporosis aren't inevitable. Performing weight-bearing exercises, which force you to work against the forces of gravity, can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of bone breakdown. While we're on the topic of menopause, let's take a look at some of the benefits of exercising to reduce common menopause symptoms. The changes that happen to a woman's body during menopause, such as a decline in hormone production, can lead to weight gain and the development of excess abdominal fat. Getting or staying active while going through menopause can help you avoid some of the associated weight gain. Maintaining your weight can, in turn, help you avoid certain conditions often associated with being obese or overweight, such as Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and heart disease.

Types of Exercises

Not all exercises are equal, and it's important to make sure you include a mix of different types of exercise into your workout routine. The four main categories of exercise include:

Strength training

Good weight training routines for women over 50 include lifting weights, as well as exercises that involve the use of resistance, such as Pilates or working out with resistance bands.


Aerobic or cardiovascular exercises are sometimes called endurance exercises, since you are supposed to maintain them for at least 10 minutes. During aerobic exercise, your heart rate and breathing should increase, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation with a workout buddy. Walking, jogging and swimming are all examples of aerobic exercise.


Stretching exercises help improve or maintain flexibility, reducing the risk of injury to the muscles or joints. Yoga is a popular type of stretching exercise.

Balance . As you get older, the risk of falling increases. Exercises that help improve or maintain balance can reduce your risk of falls. A balance exercise can be as simple as standing on one foot.

How much exercise should you do each week?

The amount of exercise recommended for women over the age of 50 is the same as the amount recommended for other adults. Try to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. That works out to 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, or 15 minutes of vigorous exercise five days a week.

You can break up your activities into small chunks of time, but doctors recommend you devote at least 10 minutes at a time to aerobic exercise. Along with 150 or 75 minutes of activity, you should also perform strengthening exercises at least twice a week. If you have limited mobility and have an increased risk of falling, it's also a good idea to perform balance exercises at least three days a week.

Getting the All-Clear to Exercise

Here's one crucial thing to remember before you jump into a new exercise routine, especially if you're new to working out: Get your doctor's approval before you start any new program. They can also provide guidance when it comes to the best exercises for women over 50 and the best exercises for you, based on any health concerns or issues you have.

Strength Training for 50-Year-Old Women

Resistance and strength training is particularly important for women aged 50 and older, as it helps slow down bone loss and can reverse the loss of muscle mass. Several workout plans for women over 50 are specifically designed to help older adults develop strength and retain muscle mass. Those programs include:

Muscles in Motion . Set to music from the 1950s and '60s, Muscles in Motion helps you tighten and tone your upper and lower body, with a particular focus on the abdominal muscles. The group class uses hand weights, resistance bands and exercise balls to build strength.


If you are particularly concerned about the risk of osteoporosis or are concerned about bone loss, S.O.S. is the fitness class for you. It focuses on resistance exercises that help improve bone health and muscle mass.

SilverSneakers® Classic.

SilverSneakers® exercise programs are available free of charge to people on Medicare. The classic program focuses on strength training as well as aerobic activities. Designed for all fitness levels, there are modifications available for people who need additional support or assistance.