There’s a lot that women over 50 have to be paying attention to, from having more fiber in their diet to getting more physical exercise. You don’t have to have worked out all your life to be able to get into exercising when you’re over 50, says Web MD. As you age, however, your goals for exercising change. You may not be able to tackle a HIIT workout at the gym, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other low-impact movements better suited for you. When health conditions like joint pain, osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease become very real concerns, your focus with exercise would be on enhancing your quality of life, fitness specialist Damien Joyner tells Eating Well.
It’s important, however, to understand the changing needs of your body. Personal trainer and nutritionist Hayley Fishwick believes functional exercises — exercises that recreate everyday movements — are ideal for women over 50 (via Fit and Well). Proper technique is even more important at this age, as injuries due to bad form can be difficult to recover from, warms Fishwick. She also recommends checking in with your doctor before you start, especially if you have any existing medical conditions.
So without further ado, let’s get right into 5 low-impact workout moves that can be tackled by women over 50.
Bird dogs for a low-impact posture workout
The bird dog workout is great for women who want to work on their posture and balance, according to Healthline. While there are exercises that can help correct bad posture in general, let’s focus on this low-impact workout ideal for women over 50.
Start your exercise by getting down on all fours and coming to a tabletop position on your mat or soft surface. Make sure your knees are under your hips and your palms are under your shoulders. Make sure to focus on your form and make sure you’re keeping a neutral spine and engaging your core, advises Fit&Well. Raise and lengthen your left leg and right arm (opposite leg and opposite arm) while keeping your form and your abdominal muscles engaged, exhaling as you stretch, per Heathline. Stay in this position for a few seconds before bringing your arm and leg back onto the mat.
Do the same move with your right leg and left arm, exhaling as you go and holding the form for a few seconds. Then, come back down on all fours. You can alternate sides and do 10-12 repetitions of this exercise for three or four sets, with 60-second intervals in between, according to Fit&Well.
Good mornings to focus on glutes
The good morning workout is what you would do when you get out of bed each morning: You put your feet on the floor, tighten your core, and hinge your hips back to stand up, reports Shape. In addition to being a great movement to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, this movement has the added benefit of helping prevent injuries. What’s not to like about it?
Begin by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor, per Fit&Well. If you want to add a challenge, you could bring up some dumbbells and hold them at the bottom of your neck, Women’s Health suggests. Alternatively, can simply cross your arms across your chest. Keep your knees soft and move your hips back, almost as if you’re using your rear end to close a door. remember to keep your glutes engaged and inhale as you go. Focus on keeping a level back and your chest aligned parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds and exhale as you come back to a standing position.
Do three to four sets of 10 reps with 60-second intervals in between.
Straight arm plank for core strength
Planks are a great movement to focus on your core, and straight arm planks are a variation that helps with good posture and even recovery from injuries, according to Abs Experiment. We all know how important posture becomes for women over 50.
Get down on your mat to a pushup position, advises Fit&Well. Engage your core and focus on forming a level line with your body. Make sure your hands are straight and your hips are in line with your back and pause in this position while tightening your belly and glute muscles. There is a recommended time for how long you should be holding a plank, but you can just stay in this position for as long as you can — that could be 20 to 30 seconds or even longer. What matters is that you don’t break your form while trying, Abs Experiment points out.
You can do two to three sets of this workout with 60 seconds of rest in between, reports Fit and Well.
Gain shoulder strength with standing Is, Ys, and Ts
If you want to have stronger shoulders, standing Is, Ys, and Ts are great movements to incorporate into your exercise regimen, according to Training Beta.
Grab some dumbbells and begin by standing up straight on your mat with your palms facing down, per Fit&Well. Slowly bring the dumbbells up to shoulder level while keeping your form. Proceed back to the starting position. This is the I of the workout. For the Ys, you’re going to want to stand up straight with your hands by your side but palms rotated outward, according to Endurance Works. Keep your form and lift your arms away from your body up to your shoulders in a Y shape, then bring them back down. You should feel some muscles tightening under the shoulder blades. For the T movement, begin by going back to the starting position but lean forward slightly with your arms by your side. Keeping your arms straight, lift them out to the side in a T form and bring them back down.
Keeping relaxed shoulders and neck throughout this workout is important, according to Endurance Works. You can do these movements at three to four sets of six reps each with 60-second intervals, Fit&Well says.
Supine heel taps for lumbar support in women over 50
Heel tap exercises are a great movement to target another essential body part for women over 50: your lumbar spine, according to physical therapist Cara Giusti. We are all too familiar with back pain and how debilitating it can be, and while there are things like sleep posture that can help with back pain relief, exercise can be beneficial too.
For the supine heel tap, you begin by laying down on your back on the mat with your arms resting comfortably on your sides and your knees bent with your feet on the ground, per Fit&Well. Engage your spine while keeping your core tightened, then lift both your legs up one at a time to bring yourself to what is called a dead bug position. Next, lower your right heel to the floor and tap it before raising it again and repeating with your left heel. Make sure to keep your spine firmly on the floor throughout, Cara Giusti adds.
Fit&Well recommends that you do 15 reps with each leg for two to three sets with 60-second intervals in between.