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Over 50? These Are the Worst Weight Loss Exercises You Can Do

These five common exercises do nothing to burn fat.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

If you're over 50 and looking for a productive weight loss program, you've probably come across many exercises advertised as great for burning fat. Unfortunately, many of the exercises aren't as productive as others. They also may not be the safest way to train the target muscles, putting you at a potential risk of injury. Don't fret, because I've rounded up the worst weight loss exercises you can do if you're over 50 so you can spend your time on more effective forms of training. Keep reading to learn more, and next, don't miss 4 Exercises Women Should Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight.


mature man doing sit-ups

The sit-up is a common exercise that targets the abdominal muscles. However, burning fat requires you to be in a caloric deficit. While sit-ups can strengthen your core, you cannot "spot target" the fat in that area, so doing endless sit-ups is not going to lead you to a six-pack.

Instead, focus on movements that use large muscle groups such as squats and lunges, which burn more calories and provide greater overall benefit.

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mature woman doing planks, weight loss exercises you shouldn't waste time on

Planks are a great way to build strength in your core, and they certainly have a place in a good workout program. However, when it comes to fat loss, they simply do not do that much.

Similar to the issue with sit-ups, planks do not burn many calories or provide adequate stimulus to large muscle groups, so on their own, they are not a great solution for weight loss. Consider 20 to 30 minutes of light cardio instead.

Jumping Jacks

mature couple doing jumping jacks

Jumping jacks are a commonly used calisthenic exercise. While they can be a great warmup, they should not be considered a go-to exercise for fat loss. They provide a minor form of cardio and activate a lot of your stabilizer and peripheral muscle groups, but doing them for a long enough duration to see major calorie burn would probably cause an overuse injury.

Instead, consider taking a walk for 30 minutes or so. This would be a better alternative to jumping jacks for increasing your caloric deficit as part of your fat loss program.

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mature woman doing yoga exercises at home, demonstrates the worst weight loss exercises

Yoga has a ton of benefits for flexibility, mobility, strength, and overall health. However, weight loss is not something yoga addresses very effectively.

Yoga does build excellent core strength and flexibility across your entire body, which is very helpful for reducing injuries and feeling better in your body day-to-day. However, yoga on its own is unlikely to increase your caloric deficit enough to move the needle on a weight loss program.

If doing yoga helps you live an overall healthy life, then it can be indirectly beneficial for weight loss. That being said, it's not a direct solution for weight loss.


mature senior woman on Pilates reformer

Pilates is an amazing way to strengthen your core, pelvic floor, and overall body. However, on its own, it will not provide enough stimulus or caloric demand to move your metabolism toward burning more fat. I'm personally a major fan of Pilates (and yoga), just not for weight loss.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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