10 Best Exercises To Do in Your 50s To Slow Down Aging, Expert Says
As you grow into your 40s and 50s, your health becomes more of a priority than ever before. Aging brings on many curveballs and changes, including the loss of lean muscle mass (around 3% to 8% every 10 years, according to research) and a slowed-down metabolism. That's why it's crucial to consistently lead a healthy, active lifestyle to stay on top of your wellness game. Eating a diet chock-full of lean protein, fruits, and veggies, in addition to getting in weekly workouts are must-dos. If you need some assistance with the fitness portion, we've put together some effective exercises to slow aging in your 50s and beyond.
You may already be aware that exercising can extend your life. As a matter of fact, according to a study published in the journal Circulation, researchers discovered that individuals who stuck to the minimum physical activity guidelines—150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorously intense exercise on a weekly basis—decreased their chances of dying early. How much? By a whopping 21%!
You may also know that strength training is king when it comes to slowing down the aging process through exercise. This is because it helps sculpt muscle, which in turn will keep your metabolism high and your body feeling youthful and healthy. After all, strong muscles mean a strong you, since losing lean muscle mass can infringe on your independence and make you feel weak.
Now, let's get into the top 10 exercises to slow aging in your 50s and beyond. Aim for three to four sets of the below.
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts
Let's get things started with the Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift. Grab a set of dumbbells, and position them in front of you. Keeping your chest tall and knees soft, hinge your hips back while dragging the dumbbells down your thighs. Once you get a solid hamstring stretch in, drive your hips forward, squeezing your glutes to finish the motion. Perform three to four sets of 10 reps.
Neutral Grip Lat Pulldowns
Get ready for Neutral Grip Lat Pulldowns. Grab the parallel grip attachment at the lat pulldown station. Your palms should be facing you. Lean back just a bit as you bring the handle down to your sternum, squeezing your upper back and lat muscles. Resist on the way back up until you get a full stretch at the top. Perform three to four sets of 10 reps.
Start your Dumbbell Step-Ups by grabbing a set of dumbbells and placing your foot on a bench or sturdy surface. Lean your weight into the heel of your front leg, pushing off of it to step up. Keep your core tight and your chest tall as you do this. Flex your quad and glute at the top of the movement, then step down using control before performing another rep. Perform three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg.
Incline Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press
This next exercise begins with you lying down on an incline bench. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, position them up with your palms facing each other. Pull your shoulder blades back, then lower the dumbbells. Get a solid chest stretch at the bottom of the movement, then drive the dumbbells back up, flexing your triceps and upper pecs. Perform three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Next up in our exercises to slow aging in your 50s will have you hopping on a rowing machine. If this is your first time doing Rower Intervals, you can begin with short ones. Start with five sets of 200 meters, and rest twice as long as you took to finish in between. Try to maintain the same pace with each set you complete. If you're more conditioned, you can do four sets of 250 meters or five sets of 300 meters.
Set up for the Landmine Deadlift by having the barbell inside the landmine attachment. If you don't have one, anchor the end of the barbell against a wall to get the same effect. Keep your chest tall, push your hips back, and squat down until you can grab the end of the bar. Brace your abs, then drive through your heels and hips to stand up. Flex your glutes hard at the top of the move, then reverse the motion back down to the ground before performing another rep. Complete three to four sets of 10 reps.
Incline Dumbbell Rear Rows
To perform Incline Dumbbell Rear Rows, put a workout bench at an incline (at least 30 to 45 degrees). Grab two dumbbells, and position your chest on the pad and your knees on the seat of the bench or your feet on the ground. Straighten out your arms, and assume a pronated grip. Keep your chest tall, and bring the weights back toward your body while flaring your elbows out. Flex your upper back at the end of the movement, then lower the dumbbells back down until you get a good stretch at the bottom. Complete three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Dumbbell Arnold Press
Start the Dumbbell Arnold Press with two dumbbells. Hold them up at shoulder height with your palms facing toward you. As you lift the dumbbells over your head, rotate your palms and elbows away from you, and press the weight up smoothly. Flex your shoulders at the top of the motion, then reverse the movement back to the starting position before performing another rep. Complete three to four sets of 10 reps.
Dumbbell Split Squats
The Dumbbell Split Squat begins with you holding a pair of dumbbells and assuming a staggered stance; one foot should be in front of you, and the other one behind you. Keep your chest tall, and lower slowly into a split squat until your back knee touches the floor. Get a good stretch in the hip of your back leg, then drive through your front heel, flexing your quad and glutes to finish. Perform three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg.
This final movement that'll help you slow aging in your 50s will have you holding a pair of heavy dumbbells by your sides. Keep your chest tall, core tight, and spine neutral. Brace your abs hard, then begin walking with control, carrying the heavy weights for 50 to 100 feet. Once you complete the distance, turn around, and walk back to the start.
A version of this story was originally published in September 2022. It has been updated to include even more exercises to slow aging after 50.