My exercise quintuple for 50+ is strength, interval & functional training, balance & flexibility

My observation over the last 20+ years at the gym is that the over 50s rarely actually train. They float about doing different activities which return little value for the time they commit to exercise. For example, too much cardio, too much flailing about with weights, too little intensity, too many classes that are no more than colour and movement such as boxing classes.

It’s great to see them fronting up for exercise. But disappointing that they get such little value for that commitment. By “value” I mean what is needed for living longer better such as cardiovascular fitness, muscle mass and strength, and the maintenance of bone density.

You’re on the right track to do mobility and core exercises. The greatest sin of gyms is the way they convince all the 50+ that gym machines are the answer.

What you are doing is building everything that the gym machines are degrading. In particular, they degrade balance, and that’s the worst possible outcome when we’re older.

I’m grateful that I discovered kettlebells 17 years ago, and had professional instruction. I know that most people don’t like them, but they enable the development of tremendous body awareness (and balance). Free weight exercises, and TRX for example, and even bodyweight exercises all do the same. These exercises rebuild muscle mass and rebuild bone density.

Having overall strength and endurance allows us to undertake new challenges with confidence

I started trail running at 70. Although I have niggles and occasional strains my body is strong enough to support my joints and my cardio strong enough to deliver a good pace. It’s an opportunity that I never imagined that I would have — all due to my underlying fitness.

PS not sure if you know but pro cyclists have the lowest bone density of high repetition endurance athletes, which is bad news as we age. Strength training will compensate.

PSS I write a newsletter with my insights on the four best articles each week for living longer better — here.

Optimistically curious, 70+ trail runner; 2X cancer; diabetic; Click “FOLLOW” for living longer better tips | Weekly Newsletter 👉 wja.is/newsletter

Optimistically curious, 70+ trail runner; 2X cancer; diabetic; Click “FOLLOW” for living longer better tips | Weekly Newsletter 👉 wja.is/newsletter