Workouts for Women

The Best Workouts for Women Over 50

Want to learn more about the best workouts for women over 50? Or maybe you want hints and tips on how to approach a workout? You’re in the right place. 

See the workout below, or find out what you may need to take into consideration as you go. 

Once you hit the five oh, you might be thinking about whether there are any potential changes to your training routine you need to consider. Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey, or you’re a seasoned pro who wants to learn more, it’s worth considering some hints and tips for workouts for women over 50. 

As time goes by, your body changes, health considerations can come into play and there are some things that are definitely worth taking into consideration to ensure you’re getting the best out of your body and respecting any limitations you may have – whatever your age, it’s always sensible to consider your boundaries and build up as you go. No one starts out as an athlete! 

But, having said that, things really don’t have to change that much!

So, let’s take a closer look at what you should keep in mind, then try our workouts for women over 50 too! 

Workouts for Women over 50 – Hints and Tips

1. Be kind to yourself 

A good tip no matter what is going on in your life, but if you’re starting out fresh at the age of 50 or you’re now noticing a few niggles that weren’t there before, be kind to yourself! And don’t compare yourself to others. 

You’re there to do your workout, nurture your body and improve your fitness – exactly the same as everyone else in the gym. 

What’s more, this includes not punishing yourself for choosing a lighter weight and building up to something. Everyone’s body is different and everyone starts somewhere.

As we said, no one joins the gym and is instantly an athlete! Fitness is a continual journey we’re all on and whether you’re 50 or 21, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re turning up and putting the work in. 

This also includes going easy on yourself when it comes to workouts for women over 50. No doubt, you’ll want to push yourself, but everyone has boundaries. If you have a fitness tracker like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, you can check on your heart rate and make sure you’re sticking to the healthy guidelines as below:

Age in years Target heart rate (bpm) Maximum heart rate (bpm)
35 93–157 185
40 90–153 180
45 88–149 175
50 85–145 170
60 80–136 160

 

2. Do resistance training

There can be a bit of a stigma around strength and resistance training in that it’s just for men. So when we look at workouts for women over 50, it’s worth remembering that strength training actually comes with a huge amount of health benefits too! 

This simply isn’t the case and it’s a stigma we’re trying to break down as much as possible here at GymGirlFit. 

Because this has been considered a men’s sport for so long, you might not initially think about including resistance training in workouts for women over 50. 

However, they come with a huge amount of benefits that can support your body, reduce the risk of injury and make you healthier, especially if you’re over 50.

Research has shown that women are more likely to get osteoporosis than men, and 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 will get fractures due to the condition.

With that in mind, you might think it dangerous to trying strength training. However, research has shown that it improves strength in women with osteoporosis and can make for increased stability too. With more muscle to offer support, it can actually help the condition. 

What’s more, the health-boosting results of resistance training has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiac related conditions and even cancer. 

So when you think resistance or strength training, you might have images of bars, dumbbells and huge weights. Well, if you started there you might just be Wonder Woman, in which case – we’re jealous!! 

Whatever your age, the most important thing is to get your form absolutely spot on, and know where your limitations are. 

[Related Article: Is it Harder for Women to Gain Muscle Size?]

With that in mind, the safest and most injury-free way to start off your resistance training workouts for women over 50 is to start with what you’ve already got – body weight training. 

This way you can start off perfecting each movement so you build strong foundations that aren’t likely to result in injury, and you can build up to adding weight. 

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3. Figure out what you enjoy

Workout for women over 50

Whether it’s workouts for women over 50, or for someone of any age actually, one of the best ways to stick to a fitness routine is to make sure you love it. 

So it’s super important that you spend some time trying new things and figuring out what works for you. Because, after all, no one will do what they don’t enjoy for a long time.

Instead, it’s about wanting to go to the gym, and wanting to push yourself to the next level. If you don’t have that kind of motivation then you can pretty much guarantee your fitness journey will begin and end in a matter of weeks. 

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4. Keep Challenging Yourself

Maybe you’re really enjoying your workouts, but you’re finding that the inspiration is going a little? Or perhaps you feel like your fitness level has plateaued somewhat? 

This is perfectly normal and quite honestly happens to just about everyone at some point or another. So, with that in mind, why not try mixing it up with something different? 

Try a different gym class, check out a new sport or join your local tennis club and try a beginners session. Or maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and up the weight on your squat set? 

Whatever you think will help, just try to keep yourself interested and excited by your fitness journey. After all, the reason everyone wants to start focussing on their health is so they can enjoy life more and feel ready for anything. 

Strength Training for Women over 50 – Try a Workout

So, if you’ve read the above and you’re ready to try something new, it’s time to take a look at one of the below strength training movements, so you can add them together and develop some amazing workouts for women over 50. 

A couple of things to bear in mind before you add these movements to your workout:

  • We’ve decided to go for resistance training as we’re huge advocates of more women building strength and feeling comfortable in the gym doing so. And, there are a tonne of health-boosting benefits as we’ve explored above! 
  • We recommend working out about 4 times a week. We’ve split these workouts for women over 50 into four different types which alternate the areas you focus on. That’s why we’ve ensured a two day rest period between the same body areas. 
  • Start with bodyweight and, when you feel ready and that your form is strong, you can start to add weights. This will help you build strength in a safe and controlled way, whilst avoiding an injury that could put you out of action for weeks.
  • Watch your nutrition. The best way to speed up recovery and get more out of your workouts, is to ensure you’re getting the right food in your body. For more on what you should realistically be eating when you’re working out, check out our guide to calories and macro nutrients and the best recovery foods for after a workout.

So, with all that in mind, let’s check out the best workout for women over 50 below: 

  • Take four of these movements and perform 6-10 repetitions of each, three times through each. Follow the guidelines above and start light or at bodyweight so you can perfect your form and build your strength. 

Squat

  1. Stand with your feet at shoulder width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward
  2. Keeping your back upright and your chest high, begin to sit backwards into a squat
  3. Ensure that, as you move down, you are keeping your knees in a steady position and not allowing them to fall inwards.
  4. Stop when your hips are just below parallel with your knees (or as far as you can comfortably go)
  5. At this put, squeeze your glutes, keep your chest high and push up out of the squat until you are standing again

Note: this might seem intimidating, however the squat gets pretty much all of your lower body muscles working together, which is key to building a well rounded physique. Start slow, get that form, then you can start to add weights – either front squats or back squats work a charm! 

Shoulder press

  1. Take two dumbbells of a light weight and hold them just outside your shoulders with your elbows directly beneath them
  2. From this position, keep your upper body strong and don’t arch your back as you push both dumbbells directly upwards
  3. When your arms are completely straight and the dumbbells are not directly above your shoulders, pause a moment
  4. Bend at the elbow and bring the dumbbells back down to the start position in a controlled manner

Note: Not enough women work their upper body and it’s absolutely essential to building a strong, healthy body. Plus, upper body injuries are incredible common without the muscle around to protect joints. 

Plank

  1. Start on all four with your hands directly below your shoulders
  2. Drop onto your elbows so they are now directly below your shoulders
  3. Extend your legs and balance on your toes so your body is a straight line from shoulder to ankle – don’t bend at the hips!!
  4. Hold this position for a set amount of tie, start with 15 and build up by 15 second increments 

Bridges

  1. Lie on your back and plant your feet on the floor around a half meter in front of your butt
  2. Place your hands on either side of your body
  3. From this position, squeeze your glutes together as your butt off the floor. If you feel the weight move to your tip toes, feel free to move your feet further away from you until you can do this with your whole foot on the floor
  4. At the top of this position, your body should be a straight line from your knees to your shoulders on the floor
  5. In a controlled movement, return your butt to the floor

Tricep kick back

  1. Take a light dumbbell and find a bench that you can sit up unto an upright sitting position (any sturdy object that comes to around elbow-shoulder height will do!)
  2. Bend one knee in front of you and stretch the other behind so you’re in a high lunge
  3. Bend at the waist, keeping your back flat and strong and hold onto your bench/sturdy object for support, and so you’re not putting loads of tension through your back. At this point, we’d like you to be just above a parallel to the ground.
  4. With the dumbbell in the other hand, lift your elbow up so it’s tight to the side of your body.
  5. Keeping that upper arm as still as possible, hinge at the elbow and push the dumbbell back and behind you, squeezing that tricep when your arm is completely straight
  6. Bring the dumbbell back down so your arm is bent at around 90 degrees, and your elbow is still tight to your body

Bent over row

  1. Stand with your feet at around hip width apart and hold a light barbell in your hands
  2. Flex the knees slightly and bend forward at the hip to around 50-60 degree with straight arms, letting the barbell hang directly below your shoulders 
  3. Bending at the elbow, pull the barbell up until it’s touching you mid torso (usually just below the sports bra line!) 
  4. In this top position, pull your upper back together as if you’re trying to bend that bar and really squeeze your muscles. Remember, don’t arch the lower back at all throughout this movement. 
  5. From here, slowly return the bar back down until your arms are straight once more

Deadlift

  1. Start with a light barbell in your hands, keep your arms straight and ensure your feet at are around hips width apart
  2. With a flat, strong back, bring your hips back and let the bar slide down the front of your upper leg (quads)
  3. When the bar gets to just above the knee, keep your back in the same position, and bend at the knee to bring the bar half way down your shins
  4. From this bottom point, push through the glutes and legs, reversing the movement. So you’re straightening at the knees until the bar is above the knee, then at the hip until you are standing once again.

Note: Another one that might feel a little daunting if you’re new to strength training for women over 50, but an absolutely amazing exercise. The deadlift works more muscles than any other strength training movement, so absolutely worth giving it a try. Just take it easy, start light and work on that form and we’ve no doubt you can handle it. 

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FAQs about Workouts for women over 50

How much should a 50 year old woman exercise?

Every single person is completely different, so there’s no wonder there’s a huge range of different advice out there on how much you should exercise. We’d recommend three – four strength training workouts a week, alongside moderate activity like walking too to aid recover at the same time. 

If you feel like that’s too much, or maybe even too little, then listen to your body and do what’s right. Obviously, like anyone else of any age, keep in mind your limitations and make sure you’re not overdoing it. Injuries can put you out of action for weeks, and it’s really not worth it! 

Should you do Squats after 50? 

Absolutely!! As long as your body is telling you it’s ok, then go for it! As we’ve mentioned, perfecting your form is an absolute must for safe and rewarding exercise, so once you’ve got that in the bag and you’re not any experiencing pain, then you’re good to go. 

It’s just like any other movement, you have to build up the strength and form to do it right, but as long as it feels ok, then squats are for everyone, and can offer women over 50 some fantastic health related benefits. 

Can you reshape your body after 50? 

You can reshape your body at just about any age. With the right food, the right exercise and the safest possible movement form, you can strengthen your body, lose body fat if you wish and tone up. As you get older, your metabolism can start to drop, but luckily, the stronger you are, the higher your metabolism.

So, while it can be a slightly longer process at 50, it’s absolutely possible. 

gymgirlfit

gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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