As we age, it becomes more difficult to maintain a slim figure. We start to pack on the pounds in places we never did before, and one of those places is often our belly.
It’s not a coincidence that so many people struggle with their weight as they age. This is because as we grow older, our metabolism starts to slow down and we lose muscle mass. All of this makes it harder to lose weight and keep it off.
However, there are some things you can do to fight back. One of them is exercise. Exercise is a great way to boost your metabolism and build muscle. Thus, it’s especially important as you get older.
In this article, we’ll share three of the best exercises to lose belly fat after 50. These exercises are also designed to help you burn more fat, build muscle, and improve your overall health.
1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is a type of exercise that alternates between short bursts of high-intensity activity and longer periods of low-intensity activity. This type of workout has been shown to be effective for fat loss, especially in older adults.
HIIT is especially helpful when you’re trying to lose belly fat. That’s because HIIT helps you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, as well as build muscle (10). Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so it helps you burn more calories even when you’re at rest.
Structuring a HIIT workout is simple. You can do it with any type of cardio exercise, like walking, running, biking, or rowing. Just make sure that you alternate between periods of high intensity and low intensity. For example, you might walk for 2 minutes at a moderate pace, then jog for a minute at a faster pace.
Due to the intense nature of HIIT, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. If you’re new to HIIT, begin with workouts that are 20 minutes or less. Also, be sure to give yourself plenty of rest between HIIT sessions.
Read More: Men’s Diet Plan To Lose Belly Fat
2. Strength Training
Strength training is another great exercise for people who are trying to lose belly fat since it helps build muscle. As we mentioned before, muscle is more metabolically active than fat (16).
In one study, people who did strength training 3 times a week for 12 weeks lost more visceral fat (the harmful belly fat) than those who didn’t strength-train.
A key part of effective strength training is using the right exercises. Exercises that work your whole body are most effective for fat loss. These exercises include squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, and pull-ups.
Note that you can’t spot-reduce fat from your belly with strength training. However, as you build muscle throughout your body, you’ll also be toning your belly. Some specific exercises that target the abdominal muscles and help tone the belly include burpees, crunches, planks, and side bends.
To get started with strength training, we recommend working with a personal trainer or coach. They can help you create a workout plan that’s tailored to your specific goals.
3. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise is any type of activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe harder. Walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and dancing are all examples of aerobic exercise.
Additionally, aerobic exercise is important for your overall health (11), and it’s also helpful when you’re trying to lose belly fat. This is because aerobic exercise helps you burn calories and reduce visceral fat.
Most times, aerobic exercises are low impact compared to other types of exercise, making them a good choice for people who are trying to lose belly fat after 50.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. This translates to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days a week (12).
Incorporating activities like walking and stair climbing into your daily routine is a great way to get your aerobic exercise. This is especially important if you don’t have time for a structured workout.
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Why Is It So Hard To Lose Belly Fat After 50?
Losing belly fat after 50 is more difficult than it is at other ages for several reasons, such as:
1. Slower Metabolism
2. Hormonal Changes
As women enter perimenopause and menopause, hormonal changes can also make it more difficult to lose weight, particularly around the belly (7).
3. Less Muscle Mass
With age, we tend to lose muscle mass, which can further slow down metabolism and make it harder to lose weight and keep it off (3).
4. Poor Sleep
Poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity (17), and it can be especially hard to get quality sleep as we age. Some research has even found that poor sleep can lead to changes in hormones, which makes it harder to lose belly fat.
Both work-related and home-related stress can contribute to weight gain (8), and it can be especially hard to manage stress as we age.
What Can You Do To Lose Belly Fat After 50?
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to lose belly fat after 50:
1. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off, and it’s especially important as we age. The 3 exercises for belly fat loss we mentioned earlier are all great choices.
Many people ask, “what is the best exercise to lose belly fat after 50?” The truth is, there’s no one exercise that’s best for getting rid of belly fat. Rather, a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training is most effective.
Choose exercises that you can enjoy and that can fit into your schedule, and try to make working out a part of your daily routine.
2. Make Healthy Dietary Changes
Making healthy dietary changes is also important for weight loss, especially as we age.
Specifically, you’ll have to:
- Eat more fiber: Research has shown that people who eat whole grains lose more belly fat than those who eat refined grains (20). This is because fiber helps keep you feeling full, so you’re less likely to overeat.
- Limit sugar and refined carbs: These foods can quickly lead to weight gain, and they’re also associated with an increased risk of abdominal obesity (5).
- Eat more protein: Protein helps you feel fuller longer. It also helps preserve muscle mass as you age. This is important because muscle mass helps boost metabolism (6).
- Eat more anti-inflammatory foods: Certain foods can help reduce inflammation in the body, which has been linked to weight gain. These include omega-3 fatty acids, olive oil, green tea, and turmeric (2).
- Limit alcohol: While a glass of wine or beer here and there probably won’t have a major impact on your weight, drinking too much alcohol can quickly lead to weight gain. It’s also associated with an increased risk of abdominal obesity(1).
3. Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
In addition to exercise and diet, there are other lifestyle changes you can make to lose weight and keep it off.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is not only bad for your health, but it’s also associated with an increased risk of weight gain (15).
- Reduce stress: As we mentioned, stress can contribute to weight gain (8). So, it’s important to find ways to manage the stress in your life. This could include yoga, meditation, or simply taking some time for yourself each day.
- Get enough sleep: As we age, we often need less sleep than we did when we were younger. However, it’s still important to get enough quality sleep every night. Aim for at least 7 to 8 hours per night.
Making lifestyle changes can be hard, but they’re worth it if you’re looking to lose weight and keep it off.
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4. Consider Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a popular weight loss method, and it can be especially helpful for those over 50 (13).
With intermittent fasting, you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are many different ways to do this, but one common method is to fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours (16:8). This could mean skipping breakfast and only eating lunch and dinner, or fasting overnight and eating during the day.
Intermittent fasting can help boost weight loss by increasing metabolism and reducing appetite. It’s also been shown to have other health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and improving brain health (13).
If you’re interested in trying intermittent fasting, talk to your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you.
5. Try A Weight Loss Supplement
If you’re struggling to lose weight, you may want to try a weight loss supplement. There are many different supplements on the market, but not all of them are effective.
Some popular weight loss supplements include:
- Green tea extract: Green tea contains caffeine and antioxidants, which can help boost metabolism and promote fat loss (4).
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): CLA is a type of fatty acid that has been shown to help with weight loss (18).
- Garcinia Cambogia: Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit that contains hydroxycitric acid, which has been shown to help with weight loss (9).
When purchasing a weight loss supplement, be sure to read the label carefully to make sure it’s safe for you and that it contains ingredients that have been proven to help with weight loss.
Bear in mind that even the most concentrated and “pure” forms of these supplements may not be very effective if you don’t make other lifestyle changes as well. So, be sure to combine them with a healthy diet and exercise program.
If you’re over 50 and looking to lose belly fat, exercise and healthy diet changes are key. You may try doing HIIT, strength training, and aerobic exercises, which are all great exercises to lose belly fat after 50.
However, there’s no one exercise or food that will magically target your belly fat. However, by making lifestyle changes and incorporating the exercises for belly fat loss we mentioned earlier, you’ll be well on your way to a slimmer waistline.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- Can green tea preparations help with weight loss? (2014, nih.gov)
- Death by Carbs: Added Sugars and Refined Carbohydrates Cause Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Asian Indians (2016, nih.gov)
- Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit (2019, nih.gov)
- Estrogen Deficiency and the Origin of Obesity during Menopause (2015, nih.gov)
- Effects of Chronic Social Stress on Obesity (2012, nih.gov)
- Effects of garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid) on visceral fat accumulation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial☆ (2003, nih.gov)
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- How much physical activity do adults need? (2022, cdc.gov)
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- Obesity, Inflammation and Diet (2020, nih.gov)
- Relationship between Smoking and Obesity: A Cross-Sectional Study of 499,504 Middle-Aged Adults in the UK General Population (2015, nih.gov)
- Resistance Training Combined With Diet Decreases Body Fat While Preserving Lean Mass Independent of Resting Metabolic Rate: A Randomized Trial (2018, nih.gov)
- Sleep and obesity (2013, nih.gov)
- The role of conjugated linoleic acid in reducing body fat and preventing holiday weight gain (2016, nih.gov)
- The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance (2013, nih.gov)
- Whole- and refined-grain intakes are differentially associated with abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adiposity in healthy adults: the Framingham Heart Study 1,2,3,4,5 (2010, nih.gov)