Maintaining a healthy weight is an intelligent health decision at any age, but men older than 50 are particularly well-suited to reap the benefits of a successful exercise and weight loss routine. Though older men also benefit from a well-balanced diet, exercise for both weight loss and strength training is especially important for warding off the onset of age-related illnesses such as arthritis or high blood pressure.
As men age, they begin to lose lean muscle mass which contributes to additional health problems. Reduced lean muscle mass contributes to reduced balance and strength. This not only increases risk of injury but also discourages older men from participating in physical activity that would otherwise combat the loss of lean muscle. Less lean muscle also reduces men's metabolism and leads to weight gain, especially around the belly. Additional belly fat in men older than 50 increases a man's risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Health experts at the American Heart Association report that a 10 percent loss of your total body weight yields significant health benefits. A regular exercise and weight loss routine yields both physical and mental benefits for men older than 50. Sedentary men in their 50s who engage in a regular exercise and fitness program not only report physical health benefits in cardiopulmonary performance but also mental health gains, according to the website Be Fit Over Fifty. The report found that a four-month fitness program for older men resulted in improvement on various logic and math skills exams when compared to a control group.
The recommended weekly weight loss for adult men is 1 to 2 lbs. per week, according to the American Heart Association. About 1 to 2 lbs. per week is considered a sustainable pattern of weight loss until you achieve your weight loss goal. In order to burn 1 lb. of fat per week, you must create a weekly calorie deficit of 3,500 calories, the number of calories in a pound. Combined with a balanced diet, 30 minutes of medium-impact cardio per day creates a calorie deficit for men that, barring other medical conditions that inhibit weight loss, should result in a calorie deficit that leads to weight loss of between 1/2 and 2 lbs. per week.
An exercise routine for a man older than 50 should combine a variety of both cardio aerobic and strength training activities that burn calories and rebuild lean muscle mass. The American Heart Association recommends a target heart rate for 50-year-old men of between 85 and 145 beats per minute to reap the health benefits of aerobic exercise; between 80 and 136 beats per minute is the suggested heart rate for older men. Explore aerobic activities like jogging, biking or swimming for heart health. To build strength and balance, perform repetitions of push-ups and bicep curls for upper body strength and squats and lunges for lower body strength. Maintain flexibility with low-impact yoga or stretching activities.
Effective weight loss plans for men older than 50 should combine exercise with a balanced diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Consult your doctor in order to determine your daily caloric and nutritional needs based on your current health. As men lose muscle mass, their ability to perform exercise and endurance tasks decreases and the risk of exercise-related injury increases. Avoid neck and back injuries by using a personal trainer as a spotter during exercises. Begin with low-impact and low-weight exercises until you become familiar with your body's strengths and limitations.
- Be Fit Over Fifty: Exercise & Fitness Programs for People Over Fifty
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and How it Affects Your Health, from the Harvard Men's Health Watch
- American Heart Association: Target Heart Rates
- Best Boomer Towns: Stregnth Training for People 50 and Over
- Fox News: Fit After 50: Top 5 Exercised for Baby Boomers
- American Heart Association: Primary Prevention in the Adult