50s focus: Leg strength
“Your legs are the base support for your frame but also are the strongest and biggest muscles of the body,” says Ryan. Training those big muscles can help save your brain: Research published in the journal Gerontology linked increased leg power to slower cognitive ageing. “Brains aged better both structurally and functionally with stronger legs,” says Ryan, although the reason is unclear. In addition to strength and cardio work, Ryan recommends incorporating sports like tennis.
50s focus: Discover walking
If you’ve been running through your last few decades, you might want to ease the wear and tear on your joints by shifting over to power walks. “By this age, many have experienced some sort of injury that has limited their ability to exercise,” says Straub. Not to worry – now is the time to try walking, especially if you have bad knees. While it might take you longer to complete a given distance, walking can be just as effective as running when it comes to lowering your risk of certain diseases, according to the American Heart Association.
The 60s workout
If you feel like your energy is slipping away, exercise can solve your problem, says Straub. Your 60s are the most important time in your life to exercise, she stresses. “Do what you can and aim for exercises that improve (or maintain) your independence,” she says. “If you can simply walk consistently for cardio, perform bodyweight exercises [like situps, pushups, and wall sits], and attend a Pilates or yoga class one to two days a week, you will be far ahead of most seniors.” Consistency is key, as is maintaining proper form in everything you do. “Now is not the time to go compete with the youth and take on high-intensity exercises that can lead to irreversible damage,” Straub adds.