Exercise Programs for Middle-Aged Men

Middle age generally brings a stiffening of your blood vessels and a drop in testosterone levels accompanied by a loss of lean muscle tissue and increase in body fat. However, regular exercise for a middle-aged man can help combat some of these unwelcome changes.

Make sure to include cardio in your exercise training. Credit: Halfpoint Images/Moment/GettyImages

Cardiovascular exercise will help keep your heart and lungs strong and burn fat, and strength-training exercises will help retain and increase lean muscle tissue. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

Keep It Real

Before beginning an exercise program in middle age or older if you are a beginner, or haven't exercised for a while, start slowly and build your strength and fitness gradually to minimize the risk of injury. Don't try to immediately do what you could do 20 years ago at college or high school. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that older adults commit to 150 to 300 minutes of cardiovascular exercises such as running, swimming or cycling a week and strength training twice a week. If you're very fit and it appeals, do the 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous cardio activity also recommended.

Read more: The Best Workout for Men Over 50

A Healthy Heart

After the age of 25 to 30, the average man's maximum heart rate starts to steadily decline, and the ability to pump blood drops by 5 to 10 percent every 10 years, according to Harvard Health Publications. Keep your heart strong and healthy with a cardiovascular program of indoor or outdoor activities such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling. Brisk walking gently elevates your heart and breathing rates, and is ideal if you are a beginner or have joint problems. Introduce jogging as you get fitter and stronger. Cycling is a fairly low-impact exercise which you can do either inside or out.

Take It to the Gym

A total-body gym workout program of cardiovascular and strength-training exercises helps middle-aged men lose weight and regain lost lean muscle tissue. Start your workout with a 15- to 20-minute cardiovascular routine on the treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. Apart from burning calories and fat, this helps warm you up in preparation for your strength-training routine.

Use a combination of resistance machines and free weights to work the major muscles of your chest, upper back, shoulders and legs. Pushing exercises such as the seated chest press and the seated dumbbell shoulder press also work your triceps. Pulling exercises such as the lat pulldown or seated row hit your lats and back says ExRx. The seated leg press works your quadriceps with a secondary effect on your hamstrings.

Read more: Can a Body Get Back in Shape At 50 Years Old?

The Joys of Yoga

If you prefer less strenuous activities, yoga may help improve your fitness. Your muscles become less flexible and you lose joint mobility as you get older, and by the time you hit 50, years of bad posture may lead to neck and back pain. Yoga helps combat these problems by moving your joints through their full range of movement with gentle stretching exercises and advanced breathing techniques. A regular yoga practice can also improve your sleep patterns according to the National Institutes of Health.

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