Staying strong and healthy is essential to age well, and strength training exercises can help.
As you turn 50, it’s essential that your workout routines reflect your changing needs.
To age well and keep your body in good physical health, one aspect of fitness you’d want to add is strength training.
Strength training in your 50s is critically important.
It not only keeps you looking younger, more vital, and stronger but it also helps you prepare for better mobility and flexibility.
Consider it as the anti-aging serum in fitness for women over 50.
As you turn 50, your body naturally loses strength, muscle mass, and flexibility. Strength training is exactly what counters and prevents those age-related declines.
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Strength Training Benefits for Women Over 50
Strengthening exercises help you prevent muscle loss and keep your body healthy and in shape. It also strengthens your muscles to help with everyday activities like grocery shopping.
For women, osteoporosis is also a health concern and requires active measures to prevent it.
According to one 2017 study, women tend to begin losing bone loss earlier than men and at a faster pace.
Strength training is a great way to preserve bone density and sustain your bone health as you age. Building bone density with strength work helps avoid unexpected falls in the first place and prevents injuries and death.
There are many other benefits regular strength training brings for women in their 50s.
These include faster metabolism and maximum fat burning. These benefits are essential to healthy weight management as you grow older and keeping your body fat in check.
Strength works that focus on functional moves are the foundations of your daily performance. They not only help you maintain your mobility, flexibility, and range of motion but also aid you in maintaining your independence.
5 Best Strength Training Exercises for Women Over 50
If you are a woman over 50, be sure to include strength training exercises that engage every muscle in your body. More functional those moves are, they are beneficial to your everyday movements.
If you are new to strength training, don’t feel the need to use weights. Strength training exercises can be performed with just body weight or with resistance bands. As you build strength, you may add free weights like dumbbells and kettlebells to the moves to add challenge.
- Do each exercise for 10-12 reps and aim for 2-3 sets.
- Do this routine 3 times a week.
- Take a break as needed, and be sure to stop when your form begins to break.
1. Reverse Lunge
The lunge exercise is an excellent way to strengthen your legs and the entire core. It’s a functional move that translates to walking, climbing, and jogging.
But if you are looking to step it up, add the reverse lunges to your routine. The reverse lunge exercise challenges your stability and balance in addition to training for strength.
It’s a great way to work all areas of your fitness and strength with or without free weights.
How to perform a reverse lunge:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and step your right leg behind you into the lunge position.
- As you get into the lunge position, your left shin will be perpendicular to the floor and your knee will be at a 90-degree angle.
- To return, press into your back toes to bring the leg back to the starting position.
- Perform 10 reps on the same side and switch sides. Aim 2-3 sets.
2. Side Lunge
In addition to the reverse lunge, side lunges are critical to your lower body strength. It targets a different set of leg muscles than the forward or reverse lunge and has a different movement.
With the side lunge, you’ll lunge sideways, hitting your inner thighs, quads, and glutes.
It’s also a great way to open up your hip flexors and keep your leg muscles stretched.
It’s one exercise that trains you for any lateral movements and improves the range of motion.
How to do the side lunges:
- Stand with your feet twice as wide as your shoulder width. Shift your weight to your right leg, and step your leg far out to the left.
- Tighten your core and glutes and keep your left leg in a straight line.
- Hinge your hips back and lunge down with your weight on the right leg. When your right thigh is almost parallel to the ground, pause for a second.
- Press hard through the right heel and return to a standing position. Complete 10 to 12 reps on each side. Aim 2-3 sets.
3. Band Side Steps
As you grow older, it’s natural to lose some flexibility and mobility. This band-side step exercise is a great way to keep your lower body strong and stay mobile.
By adding a lightweight resistance band, you force your body to work against resistance and challenge the leg muscles even more.
If you have weak glutes, this simple functional move can help. It burns your glutes and hips as you step out and step in.
This move indirectly engages the entire core and abs to maintain the posture and upper body stability.
Whether you are starting exercise for the first time or you’ve been in the gym for years, this exercise can help you add strength to your lower body.
How to do Band Side Steps
- Wrap a looped resistance band around your ankles. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a band. Engage your core and hinge your hips back slightly and bend your knees to start.
- Slowly step to the side with one foot. Feel the stretch in the band as you step out with one foot.
- Pause then step in with the other foot in the same direction.
- Keep stepping out one step at a time. Try stepping out and in across the hallway in your house or across the room.
- Complete both sides about 10 steps each. Aim 2-3 steps.
The pushup is one key strength exercise that works your chest, shoulders, back, and arms. Though it’s primarily an upper-body workout, the pushup is really a full-body exercise. It recruits almost all your muscles to drive the up and down movements and it’s a great way to strength train.
Whether you are looking to tone your abs and core or arms, the pushups are the perfect fit.
Add this to your regular workout routine to gain strength in your body.
How to perform a pushup:
- Start in a tabletop position on a yoga mat. Keep your hands slightly wider than the shoulder-width apart and straighten your legs back.
- Position your feet close to each other and make sure your body makes a straight line from your head to the heels.
- Balance your body on your hands and toes and bend your elbows.
- Engage your core and glutes and slowly lower your chest down towards the floor. At the lowest point, push through your hands to return to the top position.
- That’s one rep. Repeat 2-3 sets of 10 reps.
5. One-Leg Warrior Pose
Strength training doesn’t have to be solely about lifting weights. There are many other ways to strengthen your body other than performing weighted exercises.
One essential way to improve your strength as you age is through balance. This one-leg warrior pose exercise is a perfect way to work on your upper body and leg strength by challenging your balance and stability.
Maintaining good balance while holding the body on one leg builds your core strength. It recruits all the muscles in your hamstrings, glutes, and hips in addition to the abs and core.
It also engages your back muscles to maintain the neutral spine as you lower your upper body.
How to perform a single-leg balance warrior exercise:
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your left foot off the floor so you’ll be standing solely on the right foot.
- Slightly bend your right knee before you start. Keep your hands on your waist to out to your side for balance.
- Engage your core and straighten your left leg behind you as you lower your torso. Pause when your torso and left leg are in line.
- Hold this position for 1-2 seconds and come back. This is one rep. Perform this 6-8 reps per side and switch sides. Aim 2-3 sets.