Find an exercise buddy to keep you accountable.
If it seems like every bit of your 50th birthday cake stuck to your thighs and belly, you're noticing the metabolism slowdown associated with middle age. Because of an increase of a hormone called cortisol, it becomes much more difficult to lose weight as you age. Regular exercise, including weight training and aerobic activity, can help you blast fat after 50. Keep in mind that fitness is only part of the equation. You'll need to eat less to adjust for your slowed metabolism, too.1.
Weight train on two to three nonconsecutive days each week. When you hit 30, your lean muscle mass diminishes by as much as a pound a year, according to AARP. Weight training can help slow the muscle loss and prevent fat accumulation. Keep your workout simple, but hit all the major muscle groups. For instance, you might pair bicep curls with squats to strengthen the muscles of the arms and lower body.2.
Pace yourself. Your body at 50 isn't as resilient as it was when you were younger. You are more prone to injury, so don't rush your workouts. Increase resistance by no more than 5 percent to 10 percent every two weeks to protect your muscles, joints and ligaments. For instance, if you are curling 10-pound weights this week, you could curl 11-pound weights in two weeks. Consider a gym membership. Weight equipment is often easier to adjust in small increments.3.
Start sweating. Weight training is great for building lean muscle, but aerobic exercise is a much better calorie-burner. A study published in "American Journal of Physiology," which included almost 200 sedentary and overweight adults up to age 70, found that aerobic exercise burned up to 70 percent more calories than strength training.4.
Aim for a vigorous aerobic workout every day. Participants in the "American Journal of Physiology" study ran 12 miles per week at 80 percent of their maximum heart rate. You have to work out regularly and hard to burn fat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, but set the bar high, and aim for 300 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. If you have joint pathology, try cycling or swimming instead of running.
- Moderate intensity exercise means your heart is beating faster and you are sweating. When you exercise vigorously, it should be difficult to form more than a few words at a time.
- Eat a diet rich in whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy. Limit your consumption of salt, sugar and fat.
- Talk to your physician before you begin an exercise program particularly if you have a history of cardiovascular or respiratory disease or joint problems.