Set Activity Reminders
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The Best Workouts for Staying in Shape Past 50

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Set Activity Reminders
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Forever Fit

While it's never too late to get in shape, feel better about yourself and look after your health, it's important to remember that not all exercises and exercise plans are created equal. If you're over 50, you may need to manage issues like past injuries, joint pain, and chronic muscle aches. We reached out to a team of experts to weigh in on the best workouts for staying fit — and safe — as we age. Check with your doctor to see which might be best for you.

Related:24 Fitness Myths to Debunk for Your Next Workout

Assess and Evaluate
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Assess and Evaluate

Mark Brown, who holds a master's degree in exercise science and has worked as a personal trainer for 25 years, believes that people over 50 need to remain active. "People over 50 are not completely fragile … many of the things we have been cautioned not to do such as lifting weights over your head, or bending over are things that you need to do in order to maintain normal functioning. Kyle Overstreet of Kyle Overstreet Fitnesshas worked 14 years as a personal fitness instructor and has a lot of older clients suggests, "Keep a calendar and mark down when you're working out and what you're doing, so you're tracking your workouts, so you continue to improve your health. I don't think walking into a cross-fit gym and doing burpees is a great idea, but consistency is important." Figure out where you stand physically and go from there.

Related:14 Exercises People Often Do Wrong — and How to Do Them Right

Resistance Bands
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Resistance Bands

Resistance bands should become your best friend. According to personal trainer Mark Brown of BodyBusiness Fitness Club, "People over 50 tend to neglect strength training, but strength training doesn't have to mean 'weight lifting.'" Resistance bands offer the benefits of heavier weights with less chance of injury. Muscles respond to resistance bands much in the same way they do to weights. Yet, unlike weights, the bands don't rely on gravity to provide the resistance and can be used daily.

Tai Chi
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Tai Chi

Described as "meditation in motion" Tai Chi is a low-impact, slow-motion exercise that involves soft, slow movements in opposite directions (yin and yang) to increase strength and improve flexibility and concentration. It is easily adapted to people confined to wheelchairs. A review of seven studies involving 1,088 older adults published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics concluded that Tai Chi practice was "beneficial to improve the balance control ability and flexibility of older adults, which may be the reason of preventing falls."

Hatha Yoga
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Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is an excellent way to improve blood flow to the heart. The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published a review examining yoga's positive health effects and found that yoga lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, lowers cholesterol, and reduces stress. Overstreet says, "The Cat Curl and Cow Pose are great for spine mobility." He often starts his older clients with these two poses. He suggests following with a modified Sunbird pose to help with core stability.

Walking
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Walking

Just 30 minutes a day makes a difference. Not only does walking reduce your chance of heart disease and stroke, but it also is considered a weight-bearing exercise. Ultimately, walking may be the best of all the exercises listed because it also helps ease joint pain, boost the immune system, and extend your life.

Biking
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Biking

Biking is a great exercise but when you're older, it's important to choose the right bike. A recumbent bike with its comfortable sitting position is easier on the back, puts less stress on the knees and joints, and it's a better option for older adults looking to dive back into fitness.

Related:Best Cheap Exercise Bikes for Home Use

Squats
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Squats

Squats are called one of the best overall exercises because they engage the largest muscle group: the legs. Brown says, "We always want to incorporate some form of squatting, but it doesn't mean putting a barbell on your back." Squatting is important because as we age, the action of squatting equates to motions that we use in our everyday life: sitting down and getting up from a chair or just simply being able to bend and pick up items like groceries.

Stretching
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Stretching

Being inactive and letting weight get out of control is a problem that many people face. Stretching is a great way to gently ease into a health regimen. Overstreet prefers the "lizard pose" which begins from a plank position and opens the hip flexors in a deep way.

Qi Gong Meditation
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Qi Gong Meditation

Probably one of the oldest health practices, meditation can alleviate stress and help calm the heart rate. Qi gong is a type of meditation that combines physical movement along with breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance. This is a great beginning exercise for older people with chronic pain or arthritis.

Related:I Started Meditating, and This Is What Happened

Planking
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Planking

Trainer Kyle Overstreet says, "If you can't do a plank for one minute, regardless of your age, you've got to address that problem." Holding a plank is essential for stabilizing your core, and that includes the back, shoulders, hips, and chest. If you can't do a minute from the get-go, start slow and build up to it. Begin the exercises on your elbows and knees — which is called a forearm plank — then, when comfortable, lift your knees off the floor and extend your arms fully.

Related:Sick of Doing Crunches? 15 At-Home Exercises to Target Your Abs

Swimming
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Swimming

If you're looking to get in shape without hurting yourself, swimming may be the best exercise. It works the entire body and increases your heart rate without putting stress on your joints. You can build endurance, tone your muscles, and best of all — it's a great overall exercise for folks suffering from arthritis and conditions that make high-impact exercises difficult.

Walking up Stairs
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Walking up Stairs

Believe it or not, you don't have to run up a flight of stairs to reap the benefits of this exercise. Slow and steady does the trick. "Anytime you're engaging your legs, one of your largest muscle groups, you are burning calories," Overstreet says. And the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn. If you're at risk for falling, consider using a stair-machine.

Strength Training
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Strength Training

Building muscle strength is essential. Strength training not only prevents osteoporosis, but, Brown says, "There is ample research to show that we can regain some loss of bone mass at any age as long as there is progressive resistance." As you age, you still need to work against some form of progressive resistance, such as with free weights or exercise machines. "If you've been sitting all day, walking is a form of progressive resistance. Bones and muscles need to be challenged," Brown explains. This means, mixing it up, adding weight so that it becomes heavier or more challenging in some way.