5 exercise habits that are destroying your body after 50

We all know exercise is important for staying healthy as we age. However, not all exercises are created equal. It’s important to emphasize certain types of exercise over others if your goal is to maximize your health, longevity, and independence. In this article, I will discuss five of the worst exercise habits that are destroying your body after 50. For each, I will explain exactly how to avoid these pitfalls. Simply put, making the following mistakes over time means missing out on the myriad benefits of exercise as a whole when timed correctly.

According to a large body of research, proper exercise programs, especially resistance training, can reduce or even reverse the following common effects of aging:

  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Loss of bone density
  • Balance Reduction
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Reduced mobility and balance

Obviously, these are all things you want to delay or avoid for as long as possible throughout your life. That being said, if for some reason you cannot follow these recommendations, you should still continue to exercise in some form.

Keep reading to find out more, and then don’t miss Over 50? Here are 6 exercise mistakes you’re too old to make.

man lifting weights on bench with personal trainer at gym

If you’ve been intimidated by the weight room in the past, you’re not alone. Nevertheless, lifting weights is a very important part of any fitness program designed to slow or reverse the aging process.

You must lift difficult weights for a low number of repetitions. They should feel heavy compared to your current strength. I recommend that all my clients 50 and over perform sets of six to 12 reps using a weight that leaves one rep “in the tank” after the first set.

RELATED: 5 Bad Fitness Habits That’s Making You Lose Muscle Mass

Mature couple stretching on yoga mats at home

Mobility is a critical part of reducing injury and ensuring your joints maintain a normal, functional range of motion. Mobility can include things like yoga, massage, foam rolling, stretching, and any other activity that incorporates some form of stretching or lengthening of muscles.

I generally recommend active forms of stretching such as yoga as opposed to passive stretching, but both have benefits. Incorporate 30-60 minutes of mobility activities three times a week in conjunction with your weight training for maximum benefits.

mature man lifting dumbbells at home demonstrating exercise habits that destroy your body

If you’ve been convinced to lift weights, you still need to use the right moves. Too often, clients focus on isolation exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, and leg extensions. While this type of strength training exercise has its place in training, the emphasis should be on compound movements that engage multiple muscles and joints.

In particular, be sure to include weighted movements like squats or deadlift variations that load the spine vertically. These offer the most benefits in terms of improving bones, muscles and performance.

RELATED: You’ll Never Lose Weight If You Keep Doing These 5 Things, Expert Says

close-up man legs walking with a dog on a nature trail

Walking is a great complement to strength training and mobility. However, if you’re only walking on paved surfaces, you’re missing out on some serious benefits. You also risk aggravating your joints if the surfaces are always paved.

Walking on uneven surfaces such as sand, trails, rocky terrain and other unpaved surfaces helps improve your balance and ankle strength while reducing the impact on your joints.

woman texting on her phone while sitting on sofa instead of exercising, exercise habits destroying your body

By far the worst thing you can do is skip exercise altogether. While the best exercise programs for people over 50 would follow the recommendations above, doing anything is always better than doing nothing.

Short walks, cardio machines, stairs, and other activities are always worth taking, even if weight training, yoga, and other methods are off the table. Take a walk and do some stretching at a minimum. Your body will thank you now and later.

Tyler Read

Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in the health and fitness field for 15 years. Learn more about Tyler

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