Top exercises you can do to stay fit at 50

Physical therapist explains simple ways to stay healthy, active

By Kristin Cason - Assignment editor, Kirstin O’Connor - Reporter/Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - Do you find yourself running out of excuses for why you've stopped exercising? Physical therapists advise to not let your age get in the way.

Clinical sports specialist physical therapist Todd Maurer at Orlando Health told News 6 that if you're in your 50s, fitness may not come first in your routine but there are some simple exercises you can do to stay active and healthy without having to hit the gym.

"A lot of us as we age, we're sitting, we're doing desk jobs, we're driving kids to practices, we're going all over, so our flexibility starts to get hampered as does our strength and we need that for balance. We need that for to help protect our joints as we get older, to help stave off our external threats and other things that we can battle,” Maurer explained. “The better strength we have, the better flexibility or the better chance we have of enjoying that life.”

Maurer said that the number one mistake people make is jumping into a high-intensity workout when they aren’t used to exercising as much.

“I don't think we're ever too old, as long as our goal is to keep moving and as long as our goal is to enjoy life ... there's always a level of exercise you can do,” Maurer said. “So simple things such as walking, leg stretching exercises and basic core exercises of strengthening that can be done at home are a great place to start.”

He suggests you figure out what works for you and make it a routine.

It's important to note that not all exercises have to be inside a gym. He recommended body weighted exercises including step ups, body squats, leg lifts and stomach core exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Maurer said even a playground or a bench in your neighborhood would do the trick.

Timing your workout before or after work makes a difference, as well.

“If it's just trying to get motivation to get to the gym, I think the biggest thing is to go right away in the morning or put your stuff in your bag or in your car so as soon as you leave work, you go right there. I think once you go home, most of us are going to sit home and get comfortable," Maurer said.

If you're considering a group class or personal trainer, but uncertain about the membership fees, Maurer said it’s something to consider to ensure you avoid an injury. 

"It's worth the investment, given one or two sessions to do it so that you keep yourself injury-free and it makes it an enjoyable process. Nobody wants to go back and do something that hurts," he said.

Maurer said swimming, biking and stretching are all low-impact exercises that build your fitness routine.

You may want to think about the sports or activities you were into as a teen. There are plenty of group classes that offer recess, dance and sports to keep it fun while you get fit.

Maurer also said it’s important to make sure you properly warm up because as you get older, the elasticity in your muscles starts to decrease.

It’s advisable to have a good diet as you’re building muscle so your body can have the proper nutrients it needs to recover.

If you have any questions or are unsure of where to start, you can consult a local physical therapist or trainer for assistance. 

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