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The Slim-Down Workout You Need at 50 To Get Your Body Back to 40

Turn back the clock on your body with this expert-approved routine.

With each passing decade, it's natural to compare your current self to your younger self. In your younger years, you had the energy and stamina to run miles, lift heavy weights, and juggle different sports. Somewhere along the way, life got busier and real, and you may not be as physically fit as you used to. If you need help getting back on the fitness bandwagon, we chatted with Michele Canon, certified personal trainer and XPRO for STRIDE Fitness, who shares the ultimate slim-down workout you need at 50 to get your body back to 40.

"Looking for a lean, defined body at 50 that will be the envy of any 40-year-old? The key is to build muscle," Canon explains. "Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to spend excessive hours doing cardio or HIIT Training. The most effective way to shape your body to look younger is to start with a simple three days per week strength training plan. Cardio then can be layered in the other days of the week."

Keep reading to learn more about why you should prioritize building muscle to get your body back to 40, along with Canon's top-recommended workout to help you do it.

Why add muscle to your frame as you age?

mature man muscle-building TRX exercise

Growing older means dealing with a natural process referred to as "sarcopenia," which is the loss of lean muscle mass due to aging. Every 10 years, you lose more muscle mass, and if you don't incorporate exercises into your routine, that will speed up the process.

"Muscle is the organ of longevity and its loss is related to increased risk of falls, fractures, diabetes, and heart disease. Building strength in your 50s not only keeps you looking young, [but] it will [also] increase your lifespan," Canon explains. "Adding muscle to your frame will make you appear leaner and more defined. It will also increase your metabolic rate, which means you will burn more calories at rest. This will ensure that the weight you lose will stay off. You will also reduce the rate of sarcopenia."

It's never too late to kickstart a new fitness routine.

If you're a newbie when it comes to working out, Canon recommends training with a qualified fitness professional.

"Start with bodyweight movements like squats, push-ups against a wall, and upper body movements with bands. When you have the correct form and feel strong enough, you can progress to using dumbbells," Canon explains. "Strength moves should involve pushing, pulling, hinging, and squatting. Train each body part in splits such as [your] legs [on] one day, [your] chest and back on another, and [your] shoulders, bicep, and triceps on another. You can add core exercises such as crunches or planks at the end of every workout."

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Don't forget to sprinkle in some cardio, too.

mature fitness woman running on treadmill at gym

Between strength sessions, Canon recommends adding in cardio two to three times a week for about 30 minutes to an hour. Depending on your fitness level, your cardio may consist of hiking, power walking, jogging, or performing a 30-minute high-intensity interval training session (HIIT). Since HIIT is pretty intense, Canon doesn't recommend doing it more than two times a week.

Note that a solid portion of your cardio should be "moderate and sustained" at a pace you're able to comfortably speak full sentences, but not engage in a full conversation. "It is slightly uncomfortable but not an all-out effort," Canon says.

5 Best Bodyweight Exercises To Increase Your Stamina After 50

Put it all together in our slim-down workout you need at 50 to get your body back to 40:

Day one: Strength train your legs (3 rounds, 12 to 15 reps each)

  • Hip Thrusts
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Banded Adductions and Abductions

Day two: Perform treadmill walking on an incline of 4% to 7% for 30 minutes

  • 5-minute warm-up
  • 2-minute power walk at 4%
  • 1-minute power walk at 2%
  • 2-minute power walk at 5%
  • 1-minute power walk at 2%
  • 2-minute power walk at 6%
  • 1-minute power walk at 2%
  • 2-minute power walk at 7%
  • 1-minute power walk at 2%
  • 2-minute power walk at 6%
  • 1-minute power walk at 2%
  • 2-minute power walk at 5%
  • 1-minute power walk at 2%
  • 2-minute power walk at 4%
  • 5-minute cool-down

Day three: Strength train your back and chest (3 rounds, 12 to 15 reps each)

  • Pushups (modify with a bench or on knees)
  • Band Back Rows
  • Band Chest Press
  • Band Lat Pulls

Day four: Repeat the treadmill workout

Day five: Work on your shoulders, biceps, and triceps (3 rounds, 12 to 15 reps each)

  • Shoulder Presses
  • Bicep Curl
  • Tricep Kickbacks
  • Rear Delt Fly

Day six: Perform this treadmill HIIT workout for 20 minutes

  • 5-minute warm-up
  • 30-second sprint or steep hike (10% incline or higher)
  • 1-minute recovery
  • Repeat for six rounds
  • 5-minute cool-down
Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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