By Confitex Men's Health & Wellness Ambassador Tony Marsh

There’s no escaping the fact that our bodies change as we age. When you’re young it’s all about pushing your body as hard as you can. When you get a bit older you can still push yourself but sometimes it’s more about listening to your body.

As a professional athlete I’ve worked my body pretty hard over the years. Now I’ve retired from international rugby I still work out and stay fit, but I can’t do what I used to do – so it’s about finding a balance.  

Whether you’re just starting a workout routine or you’ve been active for years, knowing the best exercises for men over 50 can keep you on track and help you reach your health goals faster.

Doing a full-body workout two to three times a week is an effective way to slow down the aging process and maintain muscle mass. Combine this with a brisk walk or a gentle run once or twice a week and you’ll have all your bases covered.  

When building a routine, include exercises for each of the major muscle groups – legs, glutes, chest, back, shoulders and core muscles. Here’s a good place to start:

How to do them: Sit on the edge of a bench, chair or bed, keeping your back straight. Contract your pelvic floor muscles, as if you were trying to stop yourself passing urine. Try to breathe normally while you hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds. Relax for three seconds. Repeat 10 times.  

What you’re working: The pelvic floor is an area of muscles and tissues that act as a hammock to support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum.

These pelvic floor contractions will help strengthen this area, helping prevent stress incontinence that often creeps up as we age.

Pro tip: If you experience

bladder leakage

, try to do these exercises three times a day to strengthen your pelvic floor. You can do them anytime – in the car, on the couch or in bed.

How to do them: Stand with one foot in front of the other. Keeping your back straight, your chest up and your core engaged, bend your front knee until it is at 90 degrees. From this position slowly straighten to start position. Your shoulders should remain back and down. Focus on working your quad (front thigh) and glute (butt) muscles. Do 10 each side.  

What you’re working:
Your ankle, knee and hip joints are working, along with your quad and glute muscles. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles for a lot of common daily movements, such as walking, running or stepping up onto a ladder.

Pro tips: Your front heel should always stay on the ground. You may want to hold on to a table or wall to help with your balance.

How to do them: Start face down, with your hands shoulder width apart and your back straight. Make sure your hips are not lifted or sagging, and keep your toes and heels together. Keeping the elbows close to your sides, lower yourself until your elbows are at 90 degrees. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes and quads to help your mid-section stay strong and maintain a straight line. Lift yourself back up to start position. Repeat 10 times.  

What you’re working:
Press-ups work your chest and tricep muscles to help build good upper body strength.

Pro tips: Keep your eyes looking at the ground a foot in front of you so that your head stays in a straight line. Start on your knees if you need to.

Glute bridge 
How to do them: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and hands by your side. Engage your core, then lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Pause and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, then lower yourself down to start position. Repeat 10 times.

What you’re working:
Bridges work your glutes and hamstring muscles. The glutes are the biggest muscles in the body so it’s important to keep these firing and doing their job so the smaller muscles aren’t overloaded, which could result in injury.

Pro tip: Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and hold for 1-2 seconds.

How to do them: Stand in front of a bench or chair with your legs slightly wider than hip width apart. Staying upright with your back straight and head looking forward, bend at the knees and sit back slowly as if to sit down. Your knees should stay behind your toes. Think about bracing your core even though you’re working your leg muscles. Try to lower to at least 90 degrees or to where you are comfortable. Stand up to return to the start position. Repeat 10 times.  

What you’re working:
During this exercise your ankle, knee and hip joints are working, along with your quad and glute muscles – all important to everyday fundamental movements, such as sitting, standing and bending down.

Pro tip: If you can, have your arms at your side, but you may need them out in front to help balance yourself.

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