Working out in your 50s is a great way to stay healthy and keep your body in great physical shape. But one area in the body that’s harder to lose weight in the belly area.
In fact, some tend to accumulate more fat in this area than any other body part. Oftentimes, the abdomen is the first place we gain weight and the last place we lose it. It’s why we call stomach fat, the stubborn belly fat.
The weight gain and extra belly fat in the 50s and beyond are not inevitable but often the natural part of aging.
This is partly because the loss of lean muscle mass starts to happen and your metabolism slows down as a result of it.
A slowing metabolism can lead to weight gain each year even if you don’t eat much more than usual.
To prevent your metabolism from dropping, maintaining lean muscle mass is key.
This is because muscles are more metabolically active than fat, they’ll use more energy in the form of calories.
So staying active while you age, especially in your 50s, is key to the prevention of weight gain and belly fat. Research shows that the average person loses about 1 percent of their muscle mass per year.
Fortunately, no matter what age you are, it’s never too late to exercise and keep your body in shape. And lose your stubborn belly fat and avoid high health risks associated with it.
So we’ve rounded up 5 of the best exercises to gain lean muscle mass and speed up belly fat loss in your 50s.
But before we get to them, let’s quickly discuss a little about losing fat.
How to Lose Fat and Belly Fat
In order to lose fat and belly fat, you need to keep your metabolism high, so you can continue to burn around the clock. To do so, you need to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
A diet like the Mediterranean Diet that is based on whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein is recommended.
For exercises, high-intensity cardio activities are effective for calorie burn.
Pair that with strength training to build lean muscles.
In your strength training regimens, focus on compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups at once. They help you tackle more body parts simultaneously and help you burn more fat.
Sounds like a lot? Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be.
The exercises below cover both compound strength training moves with high-intensity cardio.
In fact, you can tackle all that in one routine to help you lose fat and build a lean body in your 50s.
The burpee is an excellent exercise for fat burning when performed regularly.
Burpees’ vigorous movements are great for burning calories. They also build lean muscles in your hamstrings, calves, and glutes.
Burpees are great for the purpose of boosting your metabolism. It’s one exercise that engages every part of your body including your abs. You’ll keep burning calories and fat long after your workout is done.
We have a whole article on how to do a burpee properly. But here’s how to perform burpees.
To do a burpee:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Begin by squatting down. From there, quickly get down low to the floor and place your hands on the floor right in front of your body.
- Keeping your arms extended, jump your legs back and land into a plank position. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels.
- Jump your feet toward your hands to return to the squat position, then jump into the air with arms reaching towards the ceiling. Be sure to extend your full body. That’s one rep. Aim for 12-15 reps per set.
The crunch is a basic core exercise. It’s one effective exercise that isolates your abdominal muscles and engages them exclusively.
This exercise specifically works the frontal abs, giving the lean look in your torso.
It’s also a great way to feel the burn in the abs and build the muscles in the area.
Want more challenging crunch exercises? We covered the crunch exercise and its variations more in this article.
To do a basic crunch:
- Lie down flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands right behind your ears but don’t grab them tightly or pull the head. Contract your abs and inhale.
- Exhale and lift your upper back off the floor to crunch up using your abs. Keep your head and neck relaxed and don’t pull from your neck.
- Pause for 1 second and slowly return to the starting position.
3. Jumping Jacks
While jumping jack itself can’t spot-reduce fat, they’re a great calisthenic exercise that burns calories and help you lose fat from all over the body.
Include jumping jacks in your belly fat workout in conjunction with strength training moves.
Pair them with other bodyweight exercises like plans and crunches to get the full toning and fat-burning effects.
How to do jumping jacks:
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Keep a slight bend in your knees and hands resting by your sides.
- In one motion, open the arms and legs out to the sides. Arms flip above the head and legs spread wider than the shoulders.
- In one motion, bring your arms and legs back to the center of the starting position. Complete 30 reps.
The squat is a simple exercise that builds strength in your legs, glutes, and core.
To do a basic bodyweight squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Let your arms hang on your sides. Adjust your feet so your toes are turned out slightly to open the hips.
- As you begin to squat down, bring your arms out in front of you.
- Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
5. Bird Dog
Bird dog is a simple exercise that works your abdominal and other core muscles. It’s a great exercise to strengthen the lower back muscles and build stability in the trunk.
The bird dog improves flexibility in the hips, glutes, lower back, and abdominals.
To do the bird dog:
- Get down on all your fours: hands and knees. Place hands directly under your shoulders and knees in line with the hips.
- Contract your abs as you lift your right arm and left leg off the floor and straighten them out.
- Pause for 1-2 seconds at the top. simultaneously pull your right arm and left knee in toward each other simultaneously. Try to touch your left knee with your right elbow right below your trunk.
- Extend your right arm and left knee back to the starting position.
- That’s one rep. Complete 12-15 reps and switch sides.
6. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is a simple bodyweight move that you perform by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. It’s a great exercise to increase glute strength, core stability, and lower back strength. It can also help to increase hip flexibility and decrease lower back pain.
To do a glute bridge:
- Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor hip-width apart. Rest your arms by your sides with your palms facing down. Consider using a yoga mat for comfort.
- Lift your pelvis off the floor by pressing into the soles of your feet until your lower body is in line with your knees. Squeeze your glute muscles and keep your stomach flat to avoid overextending your spine.
- Hold this position for 1-2 seconds, then slowly lower back to the starting position. Complete 12-15 reps.
The plank is a basic abdominal exercise that builds core strength and stability. By holding your body in the plank position, you work a wide range of muscles in your body. The longer you can hold the plank the stronger your abdominal muscles are.
The plank is another abdominal exercise that I like to include in my abs routine.
To do a plan:
- Begin in the plank position. Position your elbows right below your shoulders and knees directly below the hips. Keep your head relaxed and facing down.
- Tighten your abs and draw your navel toward your spine. Lift your knees off the floor to come up to form a straight line from head to heels.
- Keep your body strong in a straight line from head to heels. Resist curving your back and don’t let your hips drop. This is the neutral spine position.
- Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.