Working-out in your 40’s and 50’s

Before we begin let’s make it clear what we mean when we use the term ‘Middle Age’. Everyone will agree that there are two basic categories involved and includes men and women aged 40 to 50 and then those aged from 50 to 60. This is what we will be referring to in this article when we use the term ‘Middle Age’ Workouts.

Maybe you have been browsing through all the exercise workout routines on the internet, as well as through fitness magazines. Do you feel completely at a loss with all the options, maybe some the information is way over your head? Sometimes, it just seems so easy when they show you how, but actually doing it yourself is another matter altogether. Have you reached a ‘Middle Age’ stage in your life and want to begin a workout routine? I am sure there are many out there wanting to begin but are finding it difficult to know what to do. If you continue reading, we are about to explore some exercise workouts. Hopefully, you will find something that fits you, something where you can say, “Hey, I can do that!”

Firstly, we need to establish our goal before we even get started. It may be you are not very happy with the way you look, and you want to get your body back into shape. This will obviously mean losing some weight. As you get older, this will mean trying to lose most of the weight around the waist area. Talking about losing weight, we need to understand that no amount of exercise or workout, will be very effective if we don’t follow some type of eating plan.

So, with a healthy diet and workout routine, you can be on our way to a healthier and happier life. Maybe, all you want from this exercise programme is not so much building big muscles or getting a six pack. You might just want something that will keep you fit and, on your toes, something that will keep your body moving. In the long run, helping to prevent further or future aches and pains.

Now, as we approach these middle age milestones of 40 and 50 in our lives, we are constantly reminded of certain problems that may arise in our bodies. The first that comes to mind is osteoporosis, which is more likely to occur in women than men. The result is bone loss, which weakens the bones. The effects will be severe back pain and bones that fracture very easily.

The second problem is atrophy, which is the breaking down of muscle tissue and a complete wasting away of the muscle. Now, don’t be alarmed as both of these conditions can be helped or prevented by a regular exercise program and a proper dietary eating plan.

Maybe you are someone who falls into the ‘Middle Age’ group and you feel that it is far too late to start something like this in your life. So, you procrastinate and say it is too difficult for me or I just don’t have the time. This article is here to help you, plan your workout and fitness routines, as well as ensure a proper diet is followed. Stop waiting for tomorrow to start your journey to healthy living.

So how about it? Just do it, you will immediately begin to reap the benefits in your body and with your overall health.

Workout plans for those over the age of 40

Let’s get down to the actual fitness routines and correct eating habits. As we are dealing with two basic groups, let us divide them up and start with the 40 to 50-year age group. We also understand that many workout routines for men differ from those for women. In this article, we will combine the two and include men and women in the age group of 40 to 50.

There are many workout routines out there that are complicated and strenuous, but here we are going to consider a quick 3-part workout routine. This routine is very effective and will only take 30 days of your time to complete.

Part One of the Workouts for Midlife

This is a high-intensity training routine, with the main aim being burning fat as effectively as possible. Most people over 40 have a need to burn off fat in the waist area. They also need to increase their metabolism. The idea of the high-intensity training is for you to see results after each individual session. This form of workout is done in short surges of high-intensity effort and then followed by low-intensity rest periods. This form of exercise has been proved scientifically to increase your metabolism quickly, as well as improve the condition of your heart.

The question now is, how does it work? This type of workout can be done on any cardiovascular equipment, such as a treadmill, step machine, elliptic equipment or even the old faithful bicycle. Not forgetting weight lifting or even your own body weight. Here is just one example of how you can go about doing it.

  • Firstly, make sure not to forget the low-intensity warm-up session that should take you about 3 minutes.
  • Now, comes the high-intensity session that should only last for about 30 seconds with a level of exertion of between 9 or 10. This is known as the RPE or Rate Perceived Exertion scale.
  • This is followed by a low-intensity period lasting for about 30 seconds and having an exertion level of around 4.
  • This sequence must now be repeated as often as you can or until you reach 20 repetitions.
  • Lastly, take a 3-minute low-intensity cool down period.

Part Two of the Workout for those in their 40’s

We now enter into the ‘Full Body Strength Training’ routine with the main goal of improving your all-around strength, focusing on your muscles. Have you ever watched bodybuilders in action, or just read about it in magazines? Instructions include things like performing ‘Back and Biceps’ or ‘Chest and Triceps’ exercises once a week or more frequently. So, you try it and find that it has very little effect on your body. This is because it was designed for those in the 20 to 30 years age group.

You also get the ‘Full Body Strength Training’ specially designed for the ‘Middle Age’ group. We are going to cover it here with you. You may be wondering what does this workout actually do for your body? It is designed to tone and build your muscles, helping to improve posture along with other benefits.

Benefits include increasing lean muscle, building strength, also improving posture and protecting the joints. The lean muscle tissue is what improves your metabolism, and in doing so, burns some of that excess fat. The importance of increasing your lean muscle mass cannot be underestimated, as you get older. The reason being, as you age, your muscles tend to deteriorate. By exercising it is possible to stop this from happening and to build the muscle back up. There is a very true saying that fits this problem perfectly, ‘If you don’t use it you will lose it’.

Let’s concentrate on how this routine works. The ‘Full Body Strength Training Routine’ makes use of numerous movements that incorporate multiple groups of muscles. For example, the main exercises you need to concentrate on include Squats, Clean and Press, Dead-lifts and Pull-ups. Then as you develop you can always combine one or more of them together.

This is how it works.

  • Take 5 minutes to warm up by using the rower, cross-trainer or just skip.
  • Legs: Next concentrate on your legs by doing 3 reps of 10 to 12 squats holding a barbell or dumbbells.
  • Back: Now your back, using the rower do 3 reps of 10 to 12 making use of a barbell or dumbbells.
  • Chest: Using a bench and dumbbells (DB Chest Press) do 3 reps of 10 to 12. Those a bit older can use a barbell, which helps to prevent any injury.
  • Shoulders: For this, you need to be seated with dumbbells in both hands (DB Shoulder Press), from shoulder height push upward. Do 3 reps of 10 to 12.
  • Finally: Perform Dumbbell (DB) Dead-lifts. Do 2 by 12 reps ensuring that your back stays straight and your core remains tight.
  • Allow about 5 minutes to cool down on the treadmill or other cardio equipment.

Here is a small tip for you. When you are on your last rep, you should feel as if you cannot continue anymore. However, if you still feel that you can do more, then just increase the weights.

You may be in a position where you do not have access to any weights, maybe you cannot go to the gym. Weights can easily be purchased at a sporting goods store, but if this still remains a problem don’t let this deter you, because you can still continue the workout by using your own body weight. The workout will then look something like this.

  • Take 5 minutes to warm up by simply skipping or walking on the spot.
  • Legs: Do 3 reps of 45 seconds each of Jump Squats.
  • Back: Do 3 reps of 15 to 25 alternative pull-ups
  • Chest: Do 3 reps of 15 to 25 push-ups
  • Shoulders: Do 3 reps of 15 to 25 incline push-ups. You can use a step, the bed or a low table.
  • Now allow 5 minutes to cool down by taking a walk outside.

Here is another small tip for you. When using your own body weight and you have completed the required number of reps and you still feel you can go on. You can then either increase the number of reps or do some more pull-ups.

Part Three of the Workout for those in their 40’s

This is called the ‘Flexibility and Mobility’ workout. This is geared towards preventing any injuries and also helps with those nagging aches and pains some of us seem to suffer from. As we get older, it doesn’t mean that we need to tolerate or accept those aching joints and muscles. You can do something about it.

This is accomplished by an effective warm-up process, which plays a very big part in our exercise routine. If you fail to warm-up properly before your workout, you are heading for muscle pain and maybe even injury. Cold muscles take very poorly to stress and stretching.

This reminds me of sweet toffee, if toffee is cold and you attempt to pull it, it will just snap and break every time. However, if you warm it slightly and then attempt to pull it, the toffee easily stretches and becomes pliable in your hands.  This is exactly what happens to your muscles and that is why a good warm-up is vital.

Tips for an effective ‘Flexibility and Mobility’ routine:

  • When you begin your workout, it is important to spend around 3 to 5 minutes doing a light cardio warm-up. You can make use of any cardiovascular equipment, you can skip, or use a trampoline for jumping. Even a simple fast walk around the block will help.
  • If you feel that any part of your body is tight, then using a ‘Foam Roller’ may help to loosen the muscles up, on your back, shoulders or legs.
  • Try some specific warm-up exercises for about 5 minutes focusing on your back, knees or shoulders.

Here are some more tips for those areas that might be giving you problems:

Lower Back Pain: You can help ease this pain by getting your core muscles strengthened, as well as stretching your hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes and lower back muscles.

Knee Pain: If you are suffering some knee pain, you must do a proper warm-up before your workout and then include stretching your quad muscles.

Shoulder Pain: This type of pain is normally caused by a weak back and tight chest. To alleviate this, you need to stretch your chest muscles and strengthen your back muscles.

It is recommended that you do cooling down exercises after each workout, these can include:

  • A slow walk on the treadmill or around the block for about 5 minutes.
  • Stretch each group of muscles you just exercised for about 30 seconds.

Part Four of the Workout –  The correct Food and Nutrition

This part of the workout has got nothing to do with exercise but is just as important and is referred to as ‘The Healthy Eating Workout’. The main aim of this part of the routine is to eat the right food, which will help you to reach your goal of a healthy life and also to lose weight.

Eating the correct food with proper nutritional value is vital if you want to be healthy and lose weight. The bottom line is this; if you follow the exercise plan listed above to the letter, but fail to watch what you eat, then you will just be wasting your time and will see few results.

Feeding our bodies with unhealthy food can put us in a very high-risk position of developing diseases.

Some health risks include high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Some who reach ‘middle age’ might begin to see changes in their bodies, things like arthritis, cataracts, bone density loss and nutrient deficiencies. This is definitely not the way we want to live our lives and I am sure you will agree with me.  Eating healthy food is not very difficult or complicated. Here is a simple guideline for those who are over 40.

Firstly, it is very important for us to work out how many calories we consume and burn in a day. This is very much the same as a cheque book account; we want to see that the money coming into our account is equal to or more than the money going out. In the case of calories, you may want more going out.

Knowing this, we can then work on an eating plan that combines all the healthy and nutritious foods that are good for us. To give you a good idea of what this means, let’s take an example of those 40 years and older. A female that is not very active will require around 1600 calories per day and if she is very active this figure will be around 2200 calories. An inactive male will require around 2200 calories per day while a very active male needs around 2800 calories.

Here is a very broad guideline of foods we need to live a healthy life:

  • Protein:

In the ageing process we discover that our muscle mass decreases, so in order to keep those muscles strong and healthy, we need to choose our lean protein food carefully. Many protein foods contain a high percentage of saturated fats, so we need to take care and eat only lean protein foods. What are some of these foods; fish, chicken and turkey with the skin removed before cooking, lean red meat and eggs. You can also consider beans, nuts, tofu, and seeds and don’t forget the peanut butter.

  • Carbs: Sourced from brown rice, oatmeal and sweet potato.

Carbohydrates are a very essential part of our daily nutrition. They come from three main sources such as starch, fibre and sugar. Most of the foods we eat contain carbs like vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans, but sugar is the least healthy of them all. Other foods that we can eat, which will give us our daily dose of carbs are brown bread, brown rice, sweet potato and oatmeal.

The recommended daily amount of carbs our bodies need is around 45% to 60%. It is a fact that we should take around 2000 calories per day, which means around 225 to 325 grams of carbs per day. However, if you want to lose weight, then you need to limit your carb intake per day to about 50 grams to 150 grams.

  • Fruit, Vegetables and Fibre:

There is a very large variety of this kind of food available in the market place. They are important as they contain minerals, fibre and vitamins that your body needs. It is recommended that you try to eat about 1½ to 2½ cups of fruit each day and at meal times try to eat 2½ to 3½ cups of vegetables per day.

Remember to eat the dark leafy vegetables, as they are the healthiest. These include things like cabbage, kale and spinach. There are also foods you can eat that give you the fibre you need, such as whole grain seeds, beans and nuts. The required amount per day of fibre should be around 50 grams for men and 30 grams for women.

  • Dairy and Oils: Found in nuts, olive oil, avocado and various seeds

Dairy products are vital as they contain the necessary calcium our bones need to remain strong. It is recommended that we eat around 1 cup of yoghurt together with some fruit for our breakfast. Try to limit the number of oils you eat to about 57 grams of cheese on your salad. You can also have a snack of about 1 cup of cottage cheese taken with a handful of nuts. It is important to choose oils with unsaturated oils like olive or flaxseed. Remember not to forget your avocados and nuts as well.

You can mix all of these together to make one meal but be sure to stick to the ‘Perfect Plate Guide’. What does this mean? Basically ensure that your plate contains ¼ of protein, ¼ of carbs and ½ of vegetables.

Workout Plans for those over the age of 50

Up to this stage we have mainly covered the age group for men and women between the ages of 40 to 50. However, when you top the 50-age bracket, you begin to slow down more and you react slower to exercise, fatigue may increase as well as those joint and muscle pains. You might begin to discover that exercises you were doing before, have become more difficult and may even be harmful to your body and overall health. If you do find yourself being over 50, you don’t have to go at it quite so hard, this is especially true if you are only beginning an exercise plan.

At age 50 your body undergoes changes and you need to have a workout plan or routine that will keep your body fit and healthy. Unfortunately, not everyone is the same and you may be among those who are fortunate enough to still be very active after 50. You may be able to continue with those workout plans you did when you were 30 or 40. This is not a problem and you can carry on for as long as you feel comfortable and able, no matter what your age.

However, for those that are experiencing difficulty, here is a workout routine that both men and women can do right into their senior years.

The most important aspect in this regard is to concentrate on your strength, here weight lifting plays an important part. Training to strengthen your muscles is very important no matter what workout routine you are following, or even what age you are. Even more so, as you age, strength training will help your muscles as well as heart and can even improve your memory.

Let us take into account that strength training is not the same for men as it is for women

Strength training for over 50’s


When you reach 50 then movements like ‘Back and Biceps’ and leg workouts, can be left behind and you should concentrate more on overall strength training instead. It has been proved that for men over 50 who do strength training sessions for a couple of times a week, are healthier, build muscles and lose weight, compared to doing all other workout plans available. So, you need to visit the weights section of the gym or use your own weights at home. You can do this about three times a week, focusing on movements that will build up all your muscle groups.


Ladies when you hit the 50 mark, you need to join the men in the weights section. This is because you also need weight training for your body just as much as they do. The main benefit of doing this workout is improving bone density. So, it is recommended that you start your workout slowly by using light weights for the dumbbell curls, as well as the dumbbell chest fly’s. Then, as you master that you can progress onto performing various kettlebell exercises.

Both men and women need to take note of the next step, which is walking as often as you can. You may be thinking, “Oh man that is so easy and straightforward”, nevertheless it is of vital importance to you. If you want to regularly improve on your cardiovascular fitness, control your weight and improve your mood swings, then walking is the thing to do. This is one exercise that anyone can do anywhere, and it has a very low injury risk rate.

Start out slow, you will eventually come to realise that the short walk around the block is not enough. You should then consider aiming higher to reach 10,000 steps per day. As you walk you will soon realise that the distance, as well as the frequency of your walk, play a major role in your fitness plan and routine. You need to remain active, even if you are not able to walk every day or pass the 10,000 steps a day you are aiming for.

Core Muscles for over 50’s

Next, we need to concentrate on our core exercises, as this is very important especially at the age of 50 and above. If you have a weak core strength it can lead to many physical diseases and disorders that prove to be difficult to recover from at that age, so don’t neglect your core strength. Your everyday movements can be affected, a simple thing like lifting or bending can become a problem if the core muscles are weak.


What are some of the core strength moves you can perform?  Moves that bring out the best results for your body. In this instance, we must progress beyond solely using the ordinary and basic sit-up. We should also include movements like crunches and other exercises for our abs. These can be done by using a stability ball, which forces you to make use of many muscles as you battle to keep your balance. You can also make use of front and side planks, these are brilliant for your core strength.


You can follow the same exercises as for men, but many women are looking for a more toned look for their abs, not necessarily a six pack. If you are aiming for a toned body including the stomach, why not try yoga.

Many women try toning their abs in order to get that flat belly but remember that your core includes quite a few different muscles groups. Therefore, we need to concentrate on toning a lot of muscles at the same time. You can do this with an exercise referred to as ‘The Canoe’ which is the same movement as when you are paddling a canoe and can be done with or without weights.

Let us now consider what the benefits of doing a yoga class will have on your body and mind. It doesn’t matter if you have been doing yoga for years, or if it is the first time, you still need to develop a regular yoga routine. This is especially true for those in their 50’s who want to enjoy any lasting health benefits.

What are some of these benefits?

  • It will improve on your balance
  • ease your chronic pain
  • protect your joints
  • may also assist in your memory


The Plank

Is there one particular exercise you can perform that covers all the major areas? The answer is yes, and it has been approved by many health experts as the best move for those who are over 50. So, what is the answer, it is of course, ‘The Plank’. This single exercise works on the legs, arms, back, core, hips, as well as glutes and is beneficial for both men and women.

In order for it to work, we need to perform it correctly if it is to achieve maximum results. Let’s begin with a tip, you can rest on your forearms instead of your hands. The Plank is not difficult to perform properly, but the method is important. Take up the position of the push-up bending your elbows to 90 degrees and resting both your forearms on the floor. Ensure that your elbows are in a position directly under your shoulders and keep your eyes fixed to the floor. At this stage, your whole body, from your head to your feet should be in a perfectly straight line. Now comes the hard part, try to hold this position for as long as you can or if you get tired, take a break every 30 seconds.

Should you avoid certain exercises over 50?

At the age of 50 are there any exercises that you should avoid? It is never too late to get your body into shape again, but when you do exercise, remember that you can never do exactly what you did when you were 20 or 30 years old. So, when running try not to increase the intensity of the run, but rather opt for a steady and slower pace. Take things more slowly but ensure that you exercise on a regular basis. One thing you might need to avoid is sprinting, as this can cause damage to your body. rather try to run a longer distance at a steadier slower pace.

Some exercises you may want to avoid or approach with caution:

  • Plyometric exercises or High-intensity aerobics
  • Overhead presses
  • Heavyweights and Deadlifts
  • Bikram yoga
  • Spinning

At the age of 50 and over you need to pay regular visits to your doctor for check-ups, as many medical conditions can appear at any time without warning. First, get your doctor’s opinion on any exercise plans you want to participate in and let the doctor do any test that he/she feels is necessary. This will not only give you peace of mind but may even help you to avoid any injuries.

Last of all, if it is possible, try and work out with a friend or family member. Unfortunately, it is all too often the case that as you get older you see less and less of friends or even family. However, being lonely is just as big a problem for your health and well-being as being inactive. So, try to find someone to share your workouts with and you will find that it will help you to live longer and enjoy life more.

Workout Routines for over 50’s with mobility problems

Well, that seems to cover some of the workout routines for people in the ’Middle Age’ group. Then again, what of those in this group that has a mobility problem? Is there something for them to do in order to keep fit and healthy?

Yes, there is, let’s have a look at some of these exercise routines:

  • For your upper body strength: Stand up, keep your feet flat on the floor, or you can even sit if you want to. Take a lightweight, hold it in your hands, and with your arms at shoulder height, stretch out your arms in front of you. Lift the weight above your head and down again. You can alternate this movement by stretching your arms out to the side of your body and lifting the weight above your head. You can aim at 10 reps to start with and then increase if you feel comfortable.
  • Bicep Curls: As you age you may find that lifting a jug of water becomes difficult, well by doing this exercise you will be strengthening those muscles. Again, you can stand or sit for this. Let your arms hang down by your side, holding a lightweight in both hands. Ensure that your hands face up and your elbows are tucked in. Next, lift the weight towards your chest by bending your elbows and hold there for about 1 second, then move down again. You can do this for about 10 reps and again increase as you feel able to.
  • Leg Raises: This exercise will strengthen your hip, thigh, buttocks and lower back muscles, as well as improve your balance. You need to stand behind a chair and hold onto the back for balance. Lift the left leg sideways, as far as you can and hold for about 1 second and return to the start position. Repeat this movement using the right leg and do as many reps as you feel comfortable with. Continue, try the same movement again but this time move your legs back as far as you can and hold and return to start position. Try not to bend your knees or point your toes during the exercise.
  • Toe Stands: Sit down on a chair that has no arms and stretch out your hands in front of you. Now try to stand up without using your arms, keeping them stretched out in front of you. You can also do this by standing behind a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Hold onto the back for support then raise yourself up onto your toes. Hold this position for a second and then return into the standing position again. Try to do 10 or 15 reps; this exercise will build your muscle mass as well as improve your balance.
  • Lower Body Stretching: Stand behind a chair and hold onto the back for support. Bend your left leg behind you and try to catch your foot with your left hand. Hold this position for a few seconds or until you feel your muscles pulling. Let go of your foot and return to the standing position. Repeat with your right leg. This exercise will strengthen your quadriceps.
  • Upper Body Stretching: This exercise will increase your flexibility and focuses on your arm and chest muscles. Stand on the floor with your feet apart at shoulder-width. Your arms should be hanging loosely at your side. Move both of your arms behind your back and hold onto your hands, at the same time pulling your shoulders back. Hold this position for about 30 seconds then release and repeat again for around 10 to 15 reps.

In conclusion

In closing, remember that all the exercises you do should be low impact. This helps to not add more stress to your body and can also help to avoid any pain or injuries. In this way no matter what your mobility, you will still be able to join in and keep your body fit and healthy.