Exercise Routines for Men Over 50

As men get older, it's more important than ever to stay in shape. However, there are certain considerations for exercise routines for men over 50 -- you have health concerns younger counterparts don't have. Before starting any exercise routine, talk to your doctor to get a clean bill of health.

Older men exercising. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Target Heart Rate

Knowing your target heart rate is important for men over 50 engaging in exercise routines, as it can keep you from overexerting yourself. This is of particular importance for men with health conditions. The average maximum heart rate for 50-year-old men is 170 beats per minute, with a decrease of 5 beats per minute for every five years of life, according to the American Heart Association. Older men have lower heart rates than younger men. Your target heart rate during exercise, meanwhile, will be lower — between 50 and 85 percent of maximum.

General Precautions

Men over 50 need to take their particular health needs into consideration when choosing exercise routines. Ease into the workout, taking the first two months to ramp up to the full routine. Stretch before your routine to prevent strains and other injuries. Pay special attention to any pain and take care of any injuries right away. Older men heal more slowly than younger men. You will also need more time for warm-up and cool-down exercises.

Types of Exercise

The National Institutes of Health recommends that men over 50 balance their workout among four different areas. Cardiovascular activities like running, swimming and cycling help keep your heart and lungs in shape. Strength training will help to build muscle as well as prevent against the muscle loss associated with aging. Stretching helps to keep your body flexible as you get older. Balance exercises are important for men over the age of 50 to prevent against a fall and the resulting injuries.

Preventing Bone Loss

Certain kinds of exercise have been proven to prevent bone resorption, the International Osteoporosis Federation reports. All are strength-training exercises — leg extensions and curls, situps, bench presses, arm curls, half-squats, back extensions and pull-downs. Do these exercises at a set intensity — lifting a certain percentage of your one-repetition maximum — as well as a set number of times per week, generally twice weekly. For those with bone loss, tai chi is a good way to get balance.

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