Testosterone levels drop as a man gets older and hits his 50s and beyond. Excess weight is piled on, particularly around the belly and chest. The Mayo Clinic believes excess fat carried around the midriff increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. Any exercise program that helps improve health and reduces the risk of developing these diseases can be construed as the best exercise for men over 50. Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.
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Do resistance training exercises two or three times per week. According to a study by the Laboratory of Sports Medicine, the Pennsylvania State University, reported in the February 1998 issue of the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," intense resistance training that engages sufficient muscle mass can increase testosterone levels. Focus on exercise such as the bench press, military press, lat pull-downs, squats or leg presses, which work the larger muscle groups. Start with light weights for 15 to 20 reps. Increase your weights over time, and do 12 to 15 reps. Increased muscle mass will help elevate your metabolism and improve your body's ability to burn fat.
Lung capacity and heart strength diminish with age. Cardio exercise will strengthen your heart and lungs, burn calories, and metabolize fat as energy. If you have not been active, start with brisk walking or swimming. Do a brisk walk three or four times a week. Alternatively, swimming enables you to do a whole body exercise with minimal stress on your joints which may have lost some flexibility in your 50s. Another option is to use a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine in a gym.
Core exercises to strengthen the stomach muscles and lower back should be part of an exercise plan for men over 50. Do three sets of a maximum number of crunches three times a week to strengthen your stomach muscles. Planks will strengthen your lower back and stomach muscles: Lie on your stomach, and raise your body with your weight resting on your forearms and toes. Keep your body in a straight line and do not let your butt stick up. Contract your stomach muscles and breathe normally. Hold position for a slow count of 20. Relax and repeat exercise for three to six sets.
Remember you are not as young as you once were, so start your exercise program gently and only increase your workload and intensity as you get fitter and stronger. Seek the advice of your doctor before you start any exercise program. Get sufficient rest and allow your body enough recovery time between exercise sessions.