I’m 58, and I have shredded abs most of the year – and I suppose that’s unusual for a 58-year-old guy. I’m sharing with you now my personal insights and strategies on how you can firm up your body after 50. These strategies have worked for me and can work for you, too.
9 Proven Strategies for Achieving a Firm Body After 50: Expert Tips for Healthy Aging
You might think that I believe everyone should be fit.
Here’s the thing, though.
I deeply believe that life is for living. And I love it when people enjoy their lives.
For example, when somebody wants to have a glass of wine, I support their having it.
For me, though, it’s different.
Historically, I’ve had an addictive personality – so it was sometimes hard to stop at “just one.”
So now I pass on the glass of wine, but if someone else wants to fit wine into their day’s allotment of allowable calories, it’s fine by me.
I’m a longevity nerd.
That means I celebrate my own life by trying to have more of it to live – by extending my lifespan.
It’s a fun endeavor for me and has led me to discover some unconventional methods to firm up my body after turning 50.
Through anti-inflammatory dieting and strategic exercise, I accidentally stumbled upon a healthier lifestyle that feels fantastic.
In fact, it feels even better than a glass of wine.
Nothing feels better than healthy!
So, I started this site to help others level up their own health in a way that feels uniquely best for them.
Here are 9 ways to firm up your body after 50.
1. Embrace Anti-Inflammatory Foods
One of the key factors in maintaining a healthy body after 50 is reducing inflammation.
By following an anti-inflammatory diet, you can improve your overall well-being and firm up your body.
Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Add a variety of colorful vegetables to your daily menu.
An anti-inflammatory is more about what you don’t eat than what you do eat. Consider avoiding processed foods, refined seed oils, corn and wheat, sugary drinks, and excessive dairy, as they can all promote inflammation in some people.
Here’s a tip that’s made all the difference for me: make a big batch of green smoothies – three days’ worth – pour into glass containers and keep in the refrigerator.
I can’t think of an easier way to get a maximum amount of vegetables into one’s daily diet. I make my smoothie with cucumber, spinach, kale, parsley, broccoli, cilantro, and celery. I throw in a couple of Brazil nuts, a chunk of frozen mango, a bit of lime juice, and blend with ice. Loaded with micronutrients!
A study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that anti-inflammatory diets, rich in colorful vegetables, may significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This research highlights how dietary choices can impact health markers and potentially lower the risk of heart-related incidents.
2. Firm Up with Strength Training
Your muscle mass naturally declines as you age, decreasing strength and mobility.
To counteract this process, it’s crucial to prioritize strength training exercises.
Resistance training helps build lean muscle, improves bone density, and enhances overall body composition.
I suggest incorporating compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups into your routine.
Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the intensity as you progress.
Remember to prioritize proper form and technique to prevent injuries.
A recent meta-analysis highlighted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that engaging in muscle-strengthening workouts for just 30 to 60 minutes a week can significantly reduce the risk of premature death, cancer, and heart disease by 10% to 20% compared to those who do no strength training at all.
Further reinforcing the importance of strength training, research led by the University of Sydney found that strength-based exercises, such as push-ups and sit-ups, could lead to a 23% reduction in the risk of premature death by any cause and a 31% reduction in cancer-related deaths.
This research emphasizes that exercises promoting muscular strength may be as crucial for health as aerobic activities, with the potential to be even more vital for reducing death risks from cancer.
These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence that supports strength training not only for its functional benefits, particularly as we age, but also for its significant impact on reducing mortality risk.
3. Don’t Neglect Flexibility and Mobility
Maintaining flexibility and mobility becomes crucial for you with each passing year.
Consider incorporating yoga, Pilates, or tai chi into your routine. These practices can enhance flexibility, balance, and overall body awareness.
An investigation on PubMed revealed the impact of yoga on male athletes over a 10-week period. The findings indicated significant improvements in the yoga group’s flexibility and balance compared to a non-yoga group. This suggests that regular mobility practice can enhance attributes critical for athletic performance, including joint health and muscular flexibility.
4. Firm Up with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
In addition to strength training, incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your fitness regimen can provide stellar results.
HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods.
It’s a time-efficient way to burn calories, boost cardiovascular health, and stimulate muscle growth.
Consider exercises like sprints, burpees, jump squats, or kettlebell swings.
Personally, I do sprint drills or a HIIT workout approximately once a week. I consider it more important for me than lower-intensity, steady-state cardio (which I also do once a week, but only after I’ve completed all of my other workouts).
A systematic review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine synthesized the effects of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on various cardiometabolic health markers in adults. This comprehensive study aimed to explore HIIT’s impact on body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose control, and inflammation markers, among others. The findings suggest that HIIT is a promising method for significantly reducing cardiometabolic risk factors, highlighting its potential for profound health improvement.
5. Replace Repetitive Negative Thoughts with Positive Statements
It’s wise to incorporate mind-body practices into your weekly routine.
In addition to physical exercise, mind-body practices can be highly beneficial for overall health and body firmness.
Activities like yoga, tai chi, or qigong integrate movement, breath control, and mental focus, promoting balance, flexibility, and relaxation. These practices can enhance body awareness, reduce stress, and improve overall mind-body connection.
Keep an eye on your stress levels!
Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on both your physical and mental well-being. It can contribute to weight gain, muscle loss, and increased inflammation.
Find healthier ways to manage stress – such as practicing mindfulness meditation, engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, or seeking social support.
“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”–William James, Psychologist
Prioritize self-care activities that promote relaxation and rejuvenation.
And, you know those negative thoughts that replay in your head? They’re not inevitable. They can be changed! When you catch yourself asserting a negative belief inside your mind, you can stop, and make a positive statement instead. This one tip alone can transform your entire life over time. You will experience more joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction.
6. Get Sufficient Deep Sleep
Adequate sleep is often overlooked but plays a vital role in maintaining optimal health and body composition.
During sleep, your body undergoes crucial repair processes and hormone regulation.
Lack of sleep can lead to increased inflammation, impaired recovery, and hindered fat loss efforts.
Aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.
Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep.
A study conducted by Monash University found that a small decrease in deep sleep in individuals over 60 could significantly increase the risk of dementia. This suggests that maintaining or enhancing deep sleep could help prevent dementia. The research, which involved following participants for up to 17 years, underscores deep sleep’s potential role as a modifiable risk factor for dementia.
7. Amply Hydrate to Firm Up
Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and is especially important as you age.
Proper hydration supports cellular function, aids digestion, and helps maintain joint lubrication.
Additionally, drinking an adequate amount of water can promote satiety and prevent overeating.
Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water daily and adjust your intake based on activity level and climate. Keep in mind, however, that hydration is not just about water – it’s also about electrolytes. If you’re an active person, you might benefit from mineral supplementation.
A research study from Edith Cowan University discovered that drinking electrolytes instead of plain water can help prevent muscle cramps. This research underscores the importance of electrolytes in maintaining muscle function, especially during and after exercise, highlighting that pure water may dilute the body’s electrolyte balance, increasing cramp susceptibility.
8. Practice Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves cycling between periods of fasting and eating.
It has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous health benefits.
By giving your body a break from constant digestion, intermittent fasting can help promote fat loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance cellular repair processes.
How one practices intermittent fasting varies based on each person’s unique situation.
For instance, a serious 50-year-old athlete with low body fat might need to consume protein not long after waking. In that case, he or she would have two fasting windows:
- after breakfast and before an early dinner would be the first 8-hour fasting window. After dinner and before breakfast would be the next 14-hour window.
- that would allow an hour of eating in the morning and an hour in the early evening.
On the other hand, a 65-year-old who worksout lightly 3 or 4 times a week might need only to eat one meal a day.
It all depends on your current age, body composition, activity level, and metabolism.
A review of research conducted by the National Institute on Aging, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlights evidence from decades of animal and human studies. These studies suggest that intermittent fasting can lead to improvements in various health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurological disorders.
Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist who has studied intermittent fasting for over 25 years, explains that the practice stems from our evolutionary history, where humans went long periods without food. Intermittent fasting works by extending the period when the body has burned through the calories consumed during the last meal and starts burning fat. This metabolic switching has been shown to offer numerous health benefits, including improvements in brain function, heart health, physical performance, and reductions in risk factors for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
These studies underscore the potential of intermittent fasting as a beneficial health intervention. However, it’s important for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals before starting any fasting regimen, particularly those with pre-existing health conditions or specific dietary needs.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of eating more than 1,000 calories in one sitting. It’s too much at one time – at least for me.
You’ll need to experiment to see what fasting windows work best for you. Perhaps start by gradually extending your fasting window, such as skipping breakfast and having your first meal at noon.
Try different fasting protocols to find what suits you best, and ask your medical doctor for their opinion beforehand.
9. Consistency is Key
Lastly, remember that consistency is the key to achieving long-lasting results. I invite you to incorporate these strategies into your daily routine and commit to making healthier choices.
Progress may not happen overnight, but – with patience and perseverance – you can firm up your body after 50 and improve your overall quality of life.
“It’s the cumulative effect of our daily choices that ultimately determines our destiny. What we do on a single day may seem insignificant, but over weeks, months, and years, these actions add up to define who we are.”–James Clear, author of Atomic Habits
Conclusion on How to Firm Up After 50
A firm physique appears taut, resilient, and strong. The best way to firm up your body after 50 is to increase muscle tone while simultaneously shrinking fat cells and improving micronutrient intake so that skin quality also improves.
As a 58-year-old who has experienced personal transformation, I can attest to the effectiveness of these methods.
It’s never too late to prioritize your health and well-being.
I encourage you to embrace a lifestyle that celebrates life, longevity, and empowering personal choices.
Discover, through experimentation and research, what works best for you – and enjoy the journey of creating a healthier, fitter body after 50.