As we age, bone density and muscle mass loss increase, but it is more noticeable in women over fifty especially post-menopause. That also explains why changes in posture and gait are more prominent as women get older. Even more evident is the loss of body strength, balance, and coordination leading to slowed movement.
Despite all this, women over 50 are often reluctant to start strength training, mainly because they are skeptical about its benefits. So the big question is can you start weight training at 50, and will it benefit you? Well, you can’t put an age limit on exercise, so, yes, you can start training at 50, and it will definitely benefit you in more ways than one.
“"Older men can indeed increase muscle mass lost as a consequence of aging," says Dr. Thomas W. Storer, director of the exercise physiology and physical function lab at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It takes work, dedication, and a plan, but it is never too late to rebuild muscle and maintain it."”
Workout offers tons of benefits
This is the one benefit of strength training I’m sure we’re all familiar with. We all lose muscle as we age and this phenomenon is known as sarcopenia. But, this does not mean that we can not halt this process or at least slow it down, and the best way to do it is strength training.
During strength training small muscle tears to occur, and when our body repairs these muscles it naturally makes them stronger and bigger. As women age, it is vital to increase muscle matter to prevent injury to the bones and avoid falls by increase strength and balance.
“Therefore, the best means to build muscle mass, no matter your age, is progressive resistance training (PRT), says Dr. Storer. With PRT, you gradually amp up your workout volume—weight, reps, and sets—as your strength and endurance improve.”
Increase Bone Density
Elderly people cannot recover at the same rate as a 12 year old. So, if a fifty-plus adult were to unexpectedly fall, he wouldn’t recover very quickly, and chances are he might not even recover at all, especially for women over 50, it could eventually result in disability, since they are at greater risk to it.
The reason behind this is the low bone density in elderly people. Working out builds bone strength much like muscles, and drastically improves bone density and balance, which in turn, reduces the risk of broken bones and injury in fifty-plus people.
People over 50 are more prone to developing anxiety, and may also be faced with more intense mental diseases. Strength training both reduces the risk of and acts as a stimulant against mental diseases. Also, it is also a great and healthy way of keeping yourself occupied since elderly people are often retired or nearing retirement and need hobbies and activities to kill time.
Reduce the risk of Osteoporosis
Women over 50 are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weaker and bone loss increases, and can, in some cases, result in disability. Research has proved that strength training can massively reduce this risk as well as prevent other bone-related conditions.
Prevent Chronic diseases
Aged people have a higher chance of developing many chronic diseases such as depression, arthritis, osteoporosis and backaches. It has been proven that resistance training is a great countermeasure against these diseases.
Get in Shape
Post-menopause hormone changes can produce fat and loosen the skin off certain areas in the body. Working out can tone up these areas and get you in shape. Now you know how those superstars look 30 when they’re 50.
Workout schedule for women over 50
Woman lifting dumbbells
Enough with all the boring details of strength training. It’s time to get practical and physical. The following is an example of the routine schedule I followed when I started my program. I increased my cardio in five-minute increments, except on those days I went on hikes.
You can follow the same or maybe create your own workout routine. Just remember to check with your doctor, and get his/her approval before starting on a workout routine.
I’ve made a list of exercises, and the best part is, you can do them at home. All you need is the right equipment, and we know just where you can get it. Each of the equipment listed offers unique benefits and a wide variety of exercises.
Woman working out with dumbbells
Dumbbells offer a wide range of motion, allowing you to build strength quickly.
● Dumbbell deadlifts
● Forward lunge with bicep curl
● Triceps kickback
● Shoulder overhead press
Resistance bands are not only lightweight and portable; they provide a convenient workout.
● Front squats
● Leg extensions
● Glute bridge
● Lateral band walk
Training to increase endurance, muscle, and strength simultaneously with kettlebells is ideal for the home workout.
● Standard kettlebell swing
● Oblique standing side bend
● Russian Twist
When it comes to strength training, barbells are effective, allowing for a dramatic increase in overall strength.
● Bench press
● Hip thrusts
Plates built to hold greater total weight, such as the Olympic weight plates, are more stable than weightlifting bars.
● Squat press
● Side bend
● Lateral raise
Mighty Gyms' equipment is built with the highest quality materials and technology to meet the demands of today's health and fitness-conscious individuals, created for your home gym, with a variety of strength training equipment. So if this interests you in creating your own home gym, you know who to call.
Mobility, strength, and resistance, adapted to our personal level, are essential for us women over fifty to regain and maintain muscle. Strength training coupled with a proper diet provides a domino effect of benefits.
I also love the fact that I had my own home gym and I’m glad I didn’t have to spend time driving to a gym and possibly losing interest in my strength training program. At fifty-plus, I feel healthy, happy, and even a little embarrassed to say, more fit than I was when I was younger.
1. Preserve your muscle mass February 19, 2016. (n.d.). Www.Health.Harvard.Edu. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/preserve-your-muscle-mass
2. Preserve your muscle mass February 19, 2016. (n.d.). Www.Health.Harvard.Edu. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/preserve-your-muscle-mass