14 Exercises You Should Modify If You’re Over 50

There’s no reason you can’t get in the best shape of your life after the age of 50, but you should use some caution, especially if you haven’t worked out consistently or have a few injuries behind you.

Age is just a number

Cheerful males are talking to each other in modern gymOlena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Or at least to some extent: If you’ve been consistently active for decades and work with a personal trainer, you could be way past the half-century mark and more fit than someone half your age—like some of these senior athletes. And as a fit person, you can probably do even the most punishing workouts and still feel great. But that’s not most people.

Many people over the age of 50 are not in the best shape of their lives, and they may also need to manage issues like past injuries, joint pain, and chronic muscle aches. It’s also important to remember that the 50-plus set might need to spend some extra time staying limber and take more than a day between serious workouts to recover. You may even want to work with a stretching expert, as stretching becomes even more important as we age. We turned to experts to find out the dos and don’ts of working out for occasional exercisers—and those who’ve sustained injuries—after age 50. And check out this simple stretching guide.

Running stairs

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Being able to get up and down stairs comfortably and easily is a key part of everyday life—but unless you’re in excellent shape, you may not want to run them. For exercise purposes, consider using a stair-climbing machine instead of running actual steps; for those who are unfit, the danger and consequences of falling increase with each passing year, Dr. Bartel warns.

Bikram or hot yoga

Full length side view portrait of attractive young woman working out in luxury fitness center, doing push ups, press ups, yoga or pilates exercise without mat on wooden floor, standing in plank posefizkes/Shutterstock

According to spinal-care expert Bradley W. Bartel Jr., DC, extreme heat can cause dizziness or fainting—at any age. This is especially true if you don’t drink enough water. Unless you’re a seasoned yogi, instead of vigorous yoga like Ashtanga, try a lower-impact form like hatha. And did you know that yoga can help with arthritis?

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