WORKING OUT FOR 50 AND OLDER
I remember as a teenager and in my early 20s, when I thought about being 50 years old it seemed so far away. I thought for sure I wouldn't be working out the same way. Well here I am at almost 51 years old and I'm still doing my thing pretty much the same way as I was in my 20s. But there are some differences in how things must be done that you can't just ignore.
First, recovery is an issue. Like it or not, you can't recover the same way in your 50s as you did I your 20s. I used to do high rep heavy breathing Squats three days a week. I built a ton of muscle doing that, but there's no way I could possibly do that now. You can still train hard but you have to be smart about it.
Generally speaking, full body workouts or two day Splits are the way to go. If you're going to do full body workouts, a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule works best. If you're doing the two day split, then a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday schedule works best. Either way, try to limit the number of sets per day to 20 or so. Although recovery is important, the "Bro Split" where each muscle is trained once a week simply isn't frequent enough.
Another consideration is cycling intensity. In Powerlifting I learned the importance of cycling. We would typically train on a 12 week cycle where we started at a lower weight, increases gradually until.we surpassed our previous best. This type of training is one of the most important things to do as you get older if you intend to really push it. You just can't maintain high intensity training levels for long periods of time. Doing that isn't even recommended when you're younger and certainly not when you're 50 and over.
Now as far as cardio goes, it's always important to do. But don't do excessive amounts of it. There is absolutely zero benefit to walking on a treadmill for over an hour. 30 minutes or so is great. But when you start going over 50 minutes the body starts going catabolic. Cortisol levels rise and this actually leads to muscle loss. Certainly not a goal you want to have.
I've written posts in the past as well as posted videos of full body workout schedules and split workouts. So I won't go over them here. If you want some info, let me know. But for now it's important to just understand these key points.
1. FULL BODY OR TWO DAY SPLIT WORKOUTS (THREE OR FOUR DAYS PER WEEK)
2. CYCLING INTENSITY
3. MODERATE AMOUNTS OF CARDIO
These tips are useful for any age, but especially over 50. Honestly I don't know how I used to train the way I did and make the progress I did. I can only assume that I have the body type that could withstand that type of training and recover sufficiently. But when I got into Powerlifting and I learned about cycling intensity, my gains really increased. Remember these things as you get older. You can still do those hard workouts. You just have to be smart about it.