5 Telltale Signs You're in Good Shape at 50, Expert Says
More folks than ever are adopting the mindset of "life begins at 50"—and for good reason. For example, there's an abundance of older athletes to draw inspiration from who have managed to stay fit at 50 and reach peak physical fitness. Look no further than ultra-endurance athlete, Rich Roll, or Ironman athlete and coach, Laura Sophiea, who are shining examples of this 50-and-up sentiment. So if you're wondering whether you're doing the right things after 50 for longevity, we've got you covered. We chatted with Antoine Hamelin, CPT, personal trainer and CEO of First Step Fitness, who shares five telltale signs you're in good shape at 50.
While this mindset is empowering and helps promote healthy aging, there's actual science to back it up. Researchers have found that regular physical activity is critical in managing healthy aging and well-being, especially for older adults. For example, strength training as you age helps preserve muscle, increase mobility, improve balance, and add years to your life, according to the National Institute on Aging. Similarly, regular cardiovascular exercise like walking and jogging can enhance your mood, sharpen your brain, and boost your heart health—all factors that slash your risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and cancer, according to a review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Read on to uncover five telltale signs you're in good shape at 50. Doing so will give you peace of mind and reassurance knowing you'll get the most out of life for years to come.
Your doctor is your biggest fan.
If your doctor remarks on how healthy you are at your annual check-up, or if friends and family regularly comment on how good you look "for your age," this could signal you're in great shape.
"You're a doctor's dream patient if you're one of the few who after 50 have normal blood pressure, perfect bloodwork, are sleeping well, and maintaining a healthy body weight," says Hamelin. "These things don't happen by accident after 50, and you're doctor knows it."
Your kids ask you to play sports with them.
You know you're doing something right when your kids or grandkids ask you to chase or play sports with them (depending on their age). That means you've likely done it with them before and are a fun, active parent.
"Whether it's flag football, soccer, or hockey, your kids know you can keep up and give them a good challenge. That's because you've kept in good shape since they were little and they know that you might be in your 50s but that you still move like you're in your 30s," says Hamelin.
You have a good mix of muscular strength, aerobic capacity, and joint mobility.
If you can still help a neighbor move, carry groceries, go for a hike with younger family members, and get down on your hands and knees to clean the floor, it means you possess the trifecta of physical fitness at 50—strength, good cardiovascular health, and mobility.
Hamelin explains, "If you're able to do 20 pushups in a row, more than five pull-ups, run a 5k in under 30 minutes, and are flexible enough to do parallel squats and any lunge variation, you're fit!"
You're not afraid to try new sports or activities.
People often say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. However, a surefire sign you're in excellent physical and mental shape at 50 is if you're up for new challenges—challenges in the form of sports and activities that you haven't done before.
Hamelin tells us, "If you want to try activities like mountain biking or cross-country skiing for the first time, it's a sign you're in great shape," Hamelin explains. "It means you know your fitness level, strength, balance, and coordination are great and you can try new things without risk of injury. So go ahead and play hard, you've earned it!"
You avoid diet trends and stay active year-round.
People who are healthy and physically fit don't often fall prey to fad diets or the latest food trends. That's because they already have healthy eating habits and stay active throughout the year to maintain a healthy weight, so there's no need for restrictive diets or calorie counting.
"If your lifestyle includes eating well most of the time, strength training, and doing cardio most days of the week, you're on the right track," states Hamelin. "You have your lifestyle. because it gives you not only a healthy body, but it also helps you feel great mentally and you can't imagine living any other way."