Exercise for beginners over 50 – home cardio circuit


Last updated on August 13th, 2022 at 07:05 am

Exercise is good for health at any age, but it becomes more important as we get older. Being inactive over 50 increases the chances of degenerative diseases, weight gain and loss of mobility. Even if you’re over 50 and you’ve been inactive all your life, it’s not too late to start. But you should be careful what exercise you choose. Running and high intensity intervals for example are not good choices. Exercise for beginners over 50 should be:

  • Low impact
  • Moderate intensity
  • Free of movements that require a high level of agility or flexibility

This circuit workout combines 5 simple moves for a home cardio workout.  Cardio exercise is important for heart and circulatory health, as well as helping with weight control. The risk of heart disease increases after menopause and many women also experience weight gain, so regular cardio exercise is very beneficial for women over 50.

Exercise for beginners over 50 – cardio circuit

Exercise for beginners over 50

Before you do this workout, please read these safety guidelines.

Although the exercises are gentle movements, similar to everyday actions, you should do a short warm up:

  • Start by doing a gentle march on the spot for 30 seconds.  Then, for the next 30 seconds gradually make this more energetic by lifting your knees higher and pumping your arms.
  • Now, take 2 small steps to the side and 2 small steps back again.  Repeat this 5 times, making the steps a bit bigger each time.

This should be enough to raise your heart rate a little and warm your muscles and joints up enough to get started.

Workout instructions

These are the 5 exercises.  Do 30 seconds of each exercise, then start again. Take a few seconds to recover between exercises if you need to, but try to make it as continuous as possible, for maximum cardio training effect. Aim to complete 6 circuits per workout and to do the workout 3 times a week.

#1 March in place

Marching in place

Pick up where you left off with the warm up – march with knees high and arms pumping.

# 2 Side steps

Exercise over 50 for beginners - side steps

Again, pick up where you left off – take 2 big steps to the side and back again.

#3 Knee lifts

Knee lifts

  • Raise your arms overhead.
  • Lower your arms as you lift one knee.
  • Raise your arms as you lower the knee.
  • Lower your arms as you lift the other knee.

#4 Kicks

Exercise for beginners over 50 - kicks

  • Lift your right leg as far as is comfortable, then return to the floor and do the same with your left.
  • It’s important with this that you don’t lift your leg higher than is comfortable, as this could lead to back injury or straining the muscles at the back of your leg.  As you get used to the exercise you’ll be able to lift your legs higher.

#5 Lunges behind

Lunges behind

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
  • Take your right leg out behind your body and tap your toes to the floor.
  • Bring your leg back to starting position and then repeat on the left.
  • At the same time as you tap behind, lift your arms in front to shoulder level, then lower them as you bring your foot back

Cool down

When you’ve completed your last circuit, cool down by marching on the spot again, gradually making the march less energetic until your heart rate returns to normal.  If you have a few minutes, do these leg stretches to help maintain your flexibility.

Get a printable of the circuit

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