Let’s be honest: Losing weight can feel like an uphill battle at times. When you step on the scale and aren’t happy with the number that appears—even when you’re putting in all the effort you’ve got—it can be demoralizing, to say the least. Weight loss can be especially difficult as you grow into your 50s because your body goes through a lot of changes that make it more challenging to burn calories and reach your ideal weight. That’s why having a fitness routine that incorporates both cardio and strength training—using bodyweight exercises, specifically—is key.
“As you age, there is a natural decrease in muscle mass, so it is essential to do strength training to counteract and preserve muscle mass,” Ronny Garcia, CPT, a personal trainer with Blink Fitness, tells Eat This, Not That! “By maintaining muscle mass, you are able to burn more calories while at rest.” Growing older also heightens your risk of developing osteoporosis or losing bone density. Strength training helps preserve your bone density and decreases your chances of suffering from bone-related injuries such as fractures and breaks.
When it comes down to it, though, all exercise is beneficial, and you’re doing yourself a major favor by getting up and active. “By engaging in any type of exercise, you are making your daily activities easier and reducing your risk of injuries,” Garcia adds. “In order to maintain being active, you need to stay active!”
Because we all know how daunting hitting up the weight room can sometimes be, especially as you age, we asked Garcia for the best bodyweight exercises for faster weight loss after 50. The below exercises promote faster weight loss, and the best part is, you don’t need to head to the gym or buy any fancy equipment to do them. All you need is ample space in your home (or wherever you happen to be) and your body weight.
If you’re ready to get started, keep reading to learn about Garcia’s top-recommended bodyweight exercises for faster weight loss after 50. Keep in mind that Garcia suggests the number of sets and reps. He explains you can always kick things off with fewer reps, and work your way up once you have your form nailed down. When you’re finished reading, don’t miss How to Lose Belly Fat For Good After 50, Say Experts.
The burpee is a total-body exercise that gives your metabolism a nice little boost while burning calories.
To set up, place your feet shoulder-width on the floor. Engage your core, squat down, and assume a high plank—plant your hands below your shoulders and extend your legs behind you. Do a pushup. Press yourself back up as you jump your feet forward to meet your hands. Then, push away from the ground as you explosively jump up and bring your arms overhead. Complete three to four sets of 10 to 15 reps.
“This exercise engages lower-body muscles which contribute to increased functional strength (i.e for everyday activities like walking) as well as an increased calorie burn,” Garcia tells us.
Begin squats by placing your feet shoulder-width apart. Lengthen your arms ahead of you, or clasp your hands at your chest. Bend your knees, hinge your hips back, and descend into a squat. Lower until your thighs become parallel to the ground. Then, push away from the ground to return to standing. Complete three to four sets of 12 to 15 reps.
“This exercise works a variety of upper body muscles including the chest, shoulders, and triceps,” explains Garcia.
Start in a high plank with your hands on the ground below your shoulders and your legs extended behind you. Your body should form a straight line. Bend your elbows as you lower your chest toward the ground. Press away from the floor to rise back up to the start position. Perform three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.
Walking lunges activate your core, glutes, and legs. It’s a stellar exercise that can improve your coordination and balance, along with giving your lower body an excellent workout.
Begin the exercise by placing your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step forward with your right leg, and lower into a lunge until your leg forms a 90-degree angle with the ground. Press back up, and step forward with your left leg as you go through the same motion on your left side. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps for each leg.
Last but not least, Garcia’s bodyweight exercises for quicker weight loss after 50 wrap up with planks. The plank fires up your core muscles, which play a crucial role in promoting good posture and overall stability.
Begin planks by placing your hands under your shoulders on the floor and rolling onto the balls of your feet so your body is in a straight line. Lower to your forearms, and engage your core. Complete three to four sets of 30 to 60-second holds.