Exercise After 50: Are You on Track?
Exercise after 50 can optimize your muscles, bones, brain, and energy! It’s quiz time! Do you really know how to work your workout so it gives you the best results? Take this 10-question quiz HERE!
Do it before you read the post below – no peeking – where I share the right answers along with a few details about why it’s correct or how to tweak your workout. (All the responses are based on most current and up-to-date research collectively as they pertain to women in peri-menpause, menopause, and post menopause).
Click here and the quiz will open up in a new window.
Then come back and you can see how to perfect your exercise after 50!
** You’ll find the answers are numerical instead of alphabetical options which is different from the QUIZ.
1. Which is BEST for bone density?
- weight training with heavy weights
- body weight training
- both 5 and 6 give the same bone density results
The correct answer is 4, heavy weights. If you can safely use a weight that you can lift no more than 10 times, you’ll illicit the greatest change in bone density. Always consider your risk: reward ratio however. So if you’re putting yourself at risk by lifting that heavy or have a joint prone to injury, opt lighter and still go to fatigue. You will still benefit muscles and staying strong will support bone as well as reduce your risk of falling.
2. Which combination is better for changing body composition?
- Weight training and HIIT
- Weight training and long slow exercise
- HIIT and long slow exercise
- yoga and long slow exercise
The correct –general – answer is 1, weight training (to fatigue) and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). However, it does depend on you. If you’re in adrenal fatigue, I wouldn’t recommend doing either one of these now. You’ve got to know you and your status to choose the best exercise. But these two can eventually be the best fat burners if they are not overused. That’s true not just of exercise after 50 but for all ages.
3. What is the optimal frequency (per week) for weight training?
You’re going to love this answer! It’s “2,” or two days a week strength training gets best results across the board all things considered. It’s the sweet spot where you can work hard enough during those two sessions to reap almost as many rewards as three times a week gets you AND it still leaves you with plenty of energy.
Study subjects who weight trained twice a week were more active overall in life and had greater overall energy expenditure than did subjects who did either less (no surprise) or more. The bottom line is if you’re exercising in the gym so much you go recover on the couch you actually may hurt your fitness level compared to finding that dose of exercise that gives you energy to play all day.
4. Which of the following repetition ranges is recommended for bulk-building (gaining size)?
- Less than 10
Sadly, the answer is “2,” 10-12 repetitions. I say sadly because it’s the protocol which most of us were taught. Is it any wonder that we’ve been fearful of weight training causing bulky muscles? There is much more too it, and at this point in life this protocol may work very differently than when you were in your 20s 30s or 40s.
- 10 or fewer
For your bone best, you would do less than 10 repetitions so “1” is the best answer here. If you can’t safely do that with all your exercises, you simply want to do the best you can safely. Is bone density a concern for you? You might be interested in this.
6. Which is the best example of work: recovery ratio for a beginning exerciser?
- 20 seconds: 10 seconds
- 20 seconds: 20 seconds
- 20 seconds: 40 seconds
- 20 seconds: 60 seconds
The correct answer is 4. For a beginner the best ratio is 1:3. You may rapidly progress but at the very least a beginner should do 1:1 and never jump into the 20 seconds of hard intensity followed by 10 seconds of recovery. That’s an advanced protocol (used too often with everyone) that should be preceded by a smart progression.
7. What is the optimal number of rest days (also in hours) between weight training workouts?
- 1 day/24 hours
- 2 days/48 hours
- 3 days/72 hours
- 4 days/94 hours
This is a trick question. Both “2” and “3” are acceptable answers. Seventy-two hours, or “3,” though is the BEST answer to this question after 50. The biggest limiter to progress after 50 is adequate rest and recovery. You can work just as hard as you did (in relative terms) as long as you rest and recover slightly longer.
So skip that old habit of Monday, Wednesday, Friday and shift to a Monday Thursday schedule – yes, even reducing the number of weight workouts in the week – can get better results because you’re stronger, fresher and better able to work up to capacity when you do exercise. In You Still Got It, Girl I outlined a 10 day rotation instead of a 7 day we’re so used to.
8. For optimal recruiting of muscle fibers and strength gain, how much rest do you want between sets of exercise for the same muscle group?
- 30 seconds or less
- 1- 2 minutes
- 3-5 minutes
- It’s unique to the individual: when you feel recovered it’s OK to do the next set
The answer is “3,” 3-5 minutes is optimal for strength from exercise after 50 in beginners. That means you can create a time efficient sequence of exercises if you’re thoughtful. If you start your set with a bent over row, you want to do at least two other exercises for other body parts before you repeat that exercise again.
9. After a strength training session how many grams of protein does research suggest is optimal for muscle protein synthesis?
For adults over 50 the answer is “4,” or 30. There is a study comparing men in their 70s to young men in their 20s reporting that while 25 grams of protein was adequate for young men, it required 40 grams of protein to reach similar recovery in older men. That said, when those adjustments were made, fitness improvements were similar regardless of age.
If you finish a moderate to vigorous workout and follow that with 30 grams of high quality protein you’ll be boosting your recovery and enhancing metabolism. In the exercise after 50 formula, age is not a limiter if your exercise is adequate and recovery fuel is adjusted. My favorite way to make this easy and delicious is a smoothie and you can sit down to a regular meal too.
10. After a high intensity workout what’s the ideal window for a woman over 50 to ingest a high protein meal?
- Within 30 minutes
- 30-60 minutes
- 60-120 minutes
- After two hours
The answer here is “3.” Protein ingestion after a workout is important, but there is a blunting effect on your muscle protein synthesis after exercise that lasts for about 60 minutes. The sweet spot for having a high quality protein meal is 90 minutes post-exercise.
What’s Your Exercise After 50 Quiz Score?
How did you do on your exercise after 50 quiz? (add to comments!) Are there habits you want to tweak to improve your results? Which ones will you try to change first?
Hint: change one thing at a time! If you’re restarting, you can start knowing you’ve got the best combination for fitness results.
If you’re looking for support in starting or sticking to an exercise, specifically weight training habit, this post might help you choose an exercise option. Some of our Flipping 50 exercise options are for those who say “I’ve got this, I just need a program to follow that’s proven to work” and some offer more support for how to plan a week, and how to eat before or after exercise for optimal energy and recovery. Some are digital and some are DVD.
Exercise after 50 is exciting. The science is emerging rapidly to help us help you more and get better results. There’s never been a better time to be flipping 50 (all 50-99 years of it) with a fresh attitude and feeling of renewal.