5 Exercise Flips You Should Make In Your 50s

These 5 exercise “flips” at Flipping 50 – and the way we discuss small little habits that make a big difference  – will help you get better results in your 50’s, especially when you have limited exercise time.

Too frequently, exercise programs (often with trainers who rely on textbook exercise prescriptions) create a one-size-fits all approach.

Yes, even when they work with you one-on-one, trainers may just be drawing from a textbook plan, rather than developing something custom for you and your body.

But you can do the right things for your body by knowing you’re a 50+ woman who needs an exercise plan that is customized to you. 

These changes reflect the latest in exercise science for women’s hormone balance and support.

So without further ado, here are are some of our guiding principles for workouts at 50+.

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1. Lift more weights, do less cardio.

In your 50s, yes, do some cardio. You do, after all, have a heart.

If you’re doing “more” to try to get your core to look the way you want, “more” can be a solution, but it may not be the right one.  More is not just more. More is more stress.  More can be potentially more load on a tired adrenal system.

So hold on to your muscle, or even build a little, by keeping your cardio short during most of your workouts.

Then, focus on weight training, and train to the point of muscle fatigue twice a week.

2. Make sure “functional” is tied to your goals.

This buzz word can be a

woman exercising on treadmill

buzz kill if your trainer is defining motions with his or her own defined set of exercises.  A trainer should be building an exercise plan around you and your goals.

If you’re 80, and you need to stay strong to get out of a chair, then a leg press is pretty functional.

In your 50s, especially if you’re a woman who wants to work on bone density and lean muscle mass (or fat loss), then you need a plan built around you and where you are in life.

Heavy weight training done safely for you as a beginner may mean machine weights.

In the eyes of your trainer, and their perception of their work, it might make him or her feel like they are less necessary.

Promise him or her you will need them for other exercises.

But tell them to help you achieve your goals by building a plan around you (rather than holding you back from reaching your goals by building an exercise plan based on their perceptions of what it means to be a trainer).

3. Eat a small amount before, wait to eat after.

Studies show that those who eat a small snack before exercise (easy to digest) work harder and for a longer duration, without perceiving it to be longer or harder.

If it feels hard because you lack energy or you’re hungry, you won’t use as much energy or get as good results. However, you should know that myths about exercising while fasted are based on studies done on 20 year old men, fed high calorie diets, that were 50% fat.

If it doesn’t apply, it doesn’t apply.

Waiting to eat after exercise is relatively new. There’s evidence that in your 50s, waiting about an hour until the muscle protein synthesis blunting effect dissipates will help us improve lean muscle tissue.

This is especially true for women like you and I who want to optimize our growth hormone (we’re making less of it now than in our 20s) and muscle protein synthesis (we’re not as good at that either)

Waiting for about 60-90 minutes after a tough or vigorous workout is a perfect time to eat a high protein meal.

Debra Atkinson

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4. Warm up and cool down like a boss.

A proper warm up is your fat-burning primer. The more you increase your breathing and circulation, the more energy you will expend during that session. Plus, you’re going to feel better while you exercise.

As humans, and especially at this phase of life, we tend to want to move away from uncomfortable, difficult, and unpleasant.  However, you can help yourself to want to repeat the things you know are good for you.

In your 50s that little secret is even more important!  So make the time to warm up.

And then…

Stop skipping the cool down. That is part two of this tip.  Moving through the proper stretches and a moving warm down, will start the recovery process before you even finish your session.

The faster you recover, the sooner you can do a high quality workout.  The difference between good fitness and great fitness is the ability to do more frequent high quality workouts.

When you’re less sore, you’ll do it more.

core in your 50s

5. Get off your back.

The best place to do core is not belly up. With the exception of a few stabilization exercises, your goals may be realized more effectively off your back.

There are dozens of exercises beyond the crunch and sit up that will help you get a flat belly more safely and effectively. Click here for the podcast I did that included core challenges.  You’ll be able to listen to the podcast and get a cheat sheet with 35 live video workout links!

In your 50s you may have already had an issue with your back. You have less wiggle room for error.  Plus… you’re going to get better results off your back.

and now… a bonus #6…

6. Relish recovery in your 50s

  • Time in-between intervals and sessions needs to truly be recovery. Way too many women have been confused about lifting weights. More is not better. The rest between strength sessions is when you make progress! Wait at least 48 hours between and better yet would be 72 hours. Research suggests that in your 50s and beyond, you can enjoy a fitness level as good or better than you had in earlier decades by working just as hard.  However, you may need more rest in-between workouts, to enjoy a better fitness level.
  • Nutrition and protein both have to be adequate. In the event calorie reduction occurs, adequate protein has helped prevent the loss of muscle that will happen with weight loss. Any loss of muscle is like putting the brakes on your metabolism. If you lose weight that is both muscle and fat and then regain weight, it is 100% fat. It’s that very cycle that contributes to creeping weight gain over the years.
  • Active recovery is better than passive. You shouldn’t really be exercising to the point of not walking well the next day. The addditional risk of injury, when you have that much soreness, is also fairly significant. Suffice to say that even with mild soreness, moving to increase circulation and warm the muscles will both speed recovery and reduce soreness.
  • The ultimate recovery is sleep. Even if you have a perfect exercise prescription and your diligent nutrition… unless you’re getting good quality and quantity of sleep, you’ll have too little of the right hormones and too much of the wrong ones. Sleep is your way of sealing the deal for energy and best weight.

Any doubts you can do this?

No worries.
You can just stick your toe in the water!

Check out the 5 Day Flip Below!

5 Day Flip for exercise in your 50s and beyond

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who “gets you”?

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The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women

Are you a beginner? No consistent exercise in the past few months? 

Then jump into the next 28-Day Kickstart (offered just a few times a year) and let’s really redefine your best exercise and nutrition habits for this flipping 50!!

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