- Regular exercise is important for overall health and wellness in older adults.
- Resistance and strength training can help combat muscle loss and improve bone density.
- Cardiovascular exercise such as walking or cycling can help improve cardiovascular health and endurance.
- Stretching and balance exercises can help reduce the risk of falls and improve flexibility.
- Regular exercise can have positive impacts on mental health, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Listen up, my friend. You ain’t getting any younger, and neither am I. Most men, like us, tend to get caught up in the daily grind of work and family. We spend our days sitting behind a desk or on the couch, and before we know it, our bodies have given in to the toll of time.
But let me tell you, it don’t have to be this way. We may start to see some extra weight creeping up on us, our muscles start to shrink, and our stamina dips lower than ever before. Even the strongest athletes among us can fall victim to neglecting their fitness.
It’s never too late to turn things around and get back in shape. Trust me, I’ve been there. So let’s make a change, together.
Now, I know we ain’t as spritely as we used to be in our younger days, but that don’t mean we can’t make a comeback. We may not be able to perform like we used to, but we can still get our heart pumping and even build up some muscle mass, even in our fifties and sixties! So, let’s make a plan, hit the gym, and show Father Time who’s boss!
Alright, let’s do this! Follow these tips and let’s get started on our journey to healthy days.
- Ease into it
If you’ve not been active for years, you’ll definitely want to take things slow. Trying to do too much too soon will not only cause delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but you’re far more likely to pull a muscle or strain a ligament.
While our bodies may age, our self-image tend to stay the same. Many men are under the illusion that they’re just as physically capable as when they were young. So they ‘ego lift’ at the gym or become ‘weekend warriors’ where they go all out and exert excessively.
Next thing you know, they’re out of commission because of an injury. Now they can’t do much until they’ve healed.
Take the slow approach during the first 30 days and you’ll not self-sabotage your progress.
It’ll take time for your body to adjust to the increased activity. Your muscles will gradually cope with the increased demands placed upon them, and your stamina will slowly get better too.
Inch by inch, fitness is a cinch. Yard by yard, it’ll be excruciatingly hard… and painful.
- Stretch daily like Van Damme
With age comes reduced flexibility and range of motion. There’s a saying by Joseph Pilates, “If your spine is stiff at 30, you’re old. If it is flexible at 60, you are young.”
He’s absolutely right. An inflexible spine and taut muscles will adversely affect your movements and make you more prone to injury.
Men in their fifties and above should devote at least 30-45 minutes a day to stretching. Ideally, you should stretch throughout the day. 10-15 minutes a session 3 times a day will help your body slowly become more flexible.
Focus on your shoulders, hamstrings and calves. These are usually the ‘tightest’ muscles in your body.
Some men may prefer to do yoga. Others may prefer to use a program like Hyperbolic Stretching to achieve the splits. Yes, it is possible to do splits like Van Damme used to back in the day, even if you’re in your fifties and older.
The more you practice and stretch, the more limber you’ll get. Within 30 days, you’ll notice that your flexibility has improved considerably. In 90 days, your body will be far more pliant than you thought possible.
Stretching is a ‘must do’ activity daily.
- Focus on mobility
When we were kids, we often ran and jumped around without a care in the world. Rolling and tumbling on the ground was all fun.
As you age, just bending down to pick up the TV remote from the floor will have you groaning and wailing like a banshee from some cold Irish countryside.
There are 2 reasons for this:
Firstly, you’re not flexible… which makes stretching/bending movements a chore.
But since you’ll be following point 2 above and stretching daily, this issue will be remedied in time to come.
Secondly, your body has ‘forgotten’ how to move dynamically.
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it applies here. Since we no longer tumble around like we used to when young, the body slowly loses its agility and ability to move smoothly in different planes/poses.
Once again, this is a fixable problem. All you need to do is practice animal movements such as:
- Gorrilla walk
- Alligator walks (forwards and backwards)
- Frog jump
- Bunny hop
- Crab reach
- Side kick throughs
- Tiger leaps
- Bear walk
- Caterpillar crawl
- Donkey kick
- Scorpion push up
- Lazy dog walks
If you’re unsure of how to do these moves, just do a quick search for the name of the exercise on YouTube and you’ll have several tutorials to guide you. Practice them often and you’ll have a higher degree of mobility in no time at all.
Do note: If you have knee issues or other injuries, you’ll want to speak to your doctor first to check if the exercise is suitable for you.
- Cardio without fear
Cardiovascular training is one of the most dreaded activities in physical training. There’s no easy way to say it – cardio training can be exhausting. You’re often in some degree of discomfort because you’re panting and sweating.
Since you’re an older man, you’ll want to start off with walking at a brisk pace. This is the best form of cardio for older people. It’s less stressful on your joints… and you won’t be gasping for air.
As your stamina builds up, you can sprint and walk intermittently. Within 3 weeks, you’ll see a marked improvement in your stamina. From there, it’s just a matter of gradually increasing the intensity and challenging yourself.
When you take the slow approach with cardio, you’ll not fear or dread it. The activity is only scary if your stamina is low. So go slow when you’re beginning… and faster when your endurance level is higher.
Aim for 2-3 cardio sessions a week.
- Resistance training is non-negotiable
Resistance training has a multitude of benefits that range from preventing sarcopenia and osteoporosis to improving your cognitive abilities.
Most men will be aware of the basic exercises at the gym. If you just focus on the 5 important compound movements, you’d have trained most of the muscles in your body. The 5 most important resistance training exercises are:
- Bench press
- Shoulder press
Make sure you have these exercises in your training routine.
Besides these exercises, you can do lunges, bicep/tricep curls, lat pulldowns, Bulgarian split squats, push-ups, hanging leg raises, dips, rows, hip thrusts, farmer walks, Russian twists and planks.
In fact, if you just focused on the movements mentioned above for 3-6 months, you’ll be amazed by your body’s transformation. Your muscular strength will skyrocket, and you’ll gain muscle size.
Stick to the basics and have 2-3 weight training sessions a week.
- Have rest days
One of the downsides of getting older is that it takes longer for your body to heal. Have no less than 2 rest days a week. On some weeks, depending on your training intensity, you might even want to have 3 days of rest a week.
That’s fine. Listen to your body and train wisely.
Music is the space between the notes… and if you want your body to grow strong and fit, it’ll need sufficient rest days to heal after the work you put it through.
- Watch your diet
While ‘diet’ is not a fitness tip per se, what you eat will directly impact your workouts.
Eating clean food with adequate protein will ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs. You’ll have more mental clarity and energy to give your best during your training sessions.
If you’re consuming too much alcohol daily or your diet consists mostly of processed/junk food, your body will feel ‘heavy’ and sluggish. This is why millions of people suffer from brain fog and they’re always feeling tired.
Their diets are not optimal and it’s affecting them negatively every single day.
- Track your progress
There’s a popular quote, “What gets measured, gets managed.”
You’ll want to keep a journal where you record down what you did during your workouts and how you felt. You may also wish to write down what you eat every day, and how you feel the next day.
This will allow you to know exactly what you’re doing/consuming… and the impact of your training and exercise on your body and how you feel. Initially, it may feel tough and tiring, but with time, you’ll discover that you start feeling better as you get into the swing of things.
- Beat your personal bests
The only way to improve will be to keep doing slightly more each day. Your goal should be to do more every workout session. An extra rep or a slightly heavier weight. Or maybe an extra set.
The duration of your training session never needs to exceed an hour – but the amount of effort and work done during this time should increase.
You want to push yourself… but you don’t want to overdo it. The goal is small, incremental improvements that when compounded over time will result in staggering progress.
This is where having a journal helps. You can see exactly what you did the earlier session and improve upon it.
Always remember, every workout session is like a ‘personal record’… and every single time, you should try and beat your own record. That’s the only way to get better.
- Play the long game
Finally, you’ll need to have patience and play the long game. Most men in their fifties will usually be exercising to develop fitness and improve their health. Some men may be doing it for aesthetics, if they’re trying to attract the opposite sex.
However, the majority will just want to do it for health reasons. They may need to lose their bulging belly and tone up their body so that they look decent in a t-shirt too.
Whatever the case may be, since you’re middle-aged, it’s going to take a while to lose the flab and gain the muscle/stamina.
Don’t rush the process. Becoming fit is not a destination, but a way of life.
You’ll be staying active well into your senior years. So you might as well take it slow and make measurable progress in reasonable time.
It doesn’t even take that long. Most men will be able to see visual results within 90 days… and if you keep at it, by month 6, you’ll look like a brand-new version of you.
In one year, you’ll have a body and a level of fitness that most men half your age will not have.
Give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve achieved a goal that millions strive for but so few achieve… and it all begins today. Get started now.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: I’m over 50, is it too late for me to start exercising?
A: No way, my friend! It’s never too late to turn things around. Let’s get back to working out and regain that strength and stamina that’s been lost.
- Q: What kind of exercise is best for older adults?
A: A combination of resistance and strength training, cardiovascular exercise, stretching, and balance exercises is ideal. Resistance training helps combat muscle loss, cardiovascular exercise improves heart health, stretching and balance work on flexibility and reducing the risk of falls, and together they contribute to overall health and wellness.
- Q: Can older adults still build muscle mass?
A: Absolutely! Resistance and strength training can help build and maintain muscle mass even in older age.
- Q: Is it safe for older adults to exercise?
A: With proper guidance and under medical supervision, exercise can be safe and beneficial for older adults. It’s always best to consult with a doctor before starting a new exercise program.
- Q: What are the benefits of exercise for older adults?
A: Regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health, maintain muscle mass, improve flexibility and balance, reduce the risk of falls, and have positive impacts on mental health. It’s never too late to start experiencing these benefits.