The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Exercise for Women Over 50


For All you Women who are 50+

So you want to start a fitness program… are you physically and mentally ready???

Starting a fitness program is always a good idea when you want to be active, feel healthy and fit while improving your overall physical and mental health.

You are NEVER too old to begin!! One of my clients didn’t start until she was 72, and her only regret was that she didn’t start it sooner.

Not only will you feel better physically, but there are many mental benefits too… you feel better, sleep better, can think more clearly, and it really helps to keep depression away.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly want to be able to move freely and without pain, as I age.

Just because we are ageing does not mean we are destined to be stiff, sore and immobile.


NO, this does not mean that you have to be in any kind of shape before beginning a program.

But it does mean that you may need medical clearance first if you are new to fitness or have any underlying…. or not so underlying medical condition.

You want to be successful with your exercise regime and not make any previous injury or medical condition worse.

Starting an exercise program is exciting and very beneficial no matter where your starting point is. THE KEY IS TO START ….. AND PROGRESS SLOWLY.


What the heck is a PAR-Q+????

PAR-Q+ is a ‘Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire.’ A list of questions to see if you are OK to start a fitness program OR if you should see your doctor first.

Whether you are starting a fitness class or working with a personal trainer, this form is used to determine your physical readiness.

And hey, don’t worry if you need clearance first. Your doctor will be happy that you are becoming more active and can work with you or give you (or your trainer) guidelines to make sure you are working safely.

Here is a link through ‘Health BC’ & ‘ePARmed-X+’ to the questionnaires. The beautiful thing about this link is you can do it online, and it is quick and easy.

Online PAR-Q+

You can print it off and bring it to your fitness professional or doctor if needed.


You have to ‘want’ it….. find a reason.

We can be physically ready to start a fitness program but not mentally prepared. The mental aspect is just as important and can stop or disrupt your progress.

1. Find your reason to get fit:

What is your goal, intention and motivation? Better health? Lose weight? Is it to Keep up with the grandkids? Or to run a marathon? Maybe it’s to Fit into that little black dress?

Keeping this goal in mind and even posting it somewhere you can see, helps us to keep the focus.

I put the little post-it notes around the house, which drives my husband crazy 🙂 But, it helps keep me motivated and focused…. whatever it takes!!

On hard days, when we just don’t feel like working out, go back to your reason/motivation to help push you through.

2. Do it for YOU!!!:

YOUR reasons, YOUR goals no one else’s.

And be careful not to compare yourself to other people, this is detrimental to your success.

 Focus on yourself and your goals. Steer yourself away from those who try to take you off course.

If you are a competitive person, like me, compete with yourself.

3. Focus on the Present:

Think of what today brings and the benefits you will get from being active TODAY.

I ask myself in the mornings, “How do I want to feel today?” “What do I have to do to get me there?”

If your focus is on how long it will take you… or on next week or next month it can become overwhelming, and you will feel like giving up.

So literally take it ‘one day at a time.’

Have a plan BUT…. focus on TODAY!

4.Know that Setbacks are OK:

We all go through them.

If you miss a workout, or can’t perform a particular exercise, that is OK. Don’t beat yourself up over it, just know it is OK and move on to your next exercise/workout.

5.NEVER GIVE UP, Stay the course:

We all have times when things come up in our lives, and our fitness takes the back seat.

Trust me! I know this very well. And it can get you down if you let it.

When these times happen, control the things you can control, like your diet and sleep. And know that it is just a little bump in your plan but that you can come right back to it.


One of the significant keys to sticking to a program is finding something you genuinely enjoy.

Or something you have always wanted to try

START SLOW!! When we are excited about starting, we can tend to overdo it and do too much at the beginning, which can lead to excessive soreness and possibly injury.

If Body Stiffness is holding you back from starting an exercise program, start with our FREE ‘4 Day Movement Challenge.’ A smooth, non-strenuous guided movement/stretch program to help relieve sore muscles and stiff joints.


There are many types of fun and easy and/or challenging fitness classes and programs out there. Find the one that makes you happy and that you will enjoy doing.  Here are a few:

Aerobic: periods of continuous movement to increase your heart rate and calorie expenditure.

Examples: swimming, running, fitness classes, dancing

Group Fitness Classes: guided by a certified instructor, you are taken through a workout program. Depending on the class, it could have a focus on cardio, strength, and/or flexibility… or a combination of all.

Dance: these types of classes are fun, especially if you like to dance. Movement with cardio and strength components.

Examples: Zumba, barre, pole dancing, Latin, Bollywood are some types. Or just dance in your kitchen to your favourite songs… as long as you are moving and having fun, you will reap the benefits.


Strength Training: incredible for increasing muscle tone, power and strength

Examples: weight lifting, bands, plyometrics, sprinting

H.I.I.T. Training ( High-intensity interval training): This has become very popular as it is an intense but quick workout that burns many calories.

   This consists of short spurts of exercises (20/30/40 seconds) with shorter rest periods (10/15 seconds).

Aquafit: This is a GREAT way to exercise that is gentle on your joints. The water makes you feel weightless yet you can get a really good workout in using the water (and often props) for resistance. You burn a ton of calories too!

Balance and/or Stability workouts: these focus on the muscles that help us maintain balance and the stability of joints.

Functional Movement: These types of workouts/movement patterns help to maintain joint range of motion and decrease stiffness in the muscles surrounding the joints.

*see our free Relieving Body Stiffness Four Day Movement Challenge

*or take our complete course on ‘Conquering Body Stiffness.’

PLUS MANY OTHERS: These include callisthenics, Boot Camps, Flexibility training, Bike riding, running clubs, etc.…



All workouts/exercise programs should follow what we call the F.I.T.T. Principal.

Here are some general Beginner guidelines (18 – 64 year olds):

F – Frequency: how often to workout

Cardio: Minimum 5 days per week. 150 minutes per week. In bouts of 10 minutes or more.

Resistance Training: 2-3 x per week. Involving all major muscle groups

Flexibility: Daily

I- Intensity: How hard you work. The percentage of weight, or running speed

Cardio: Light – Moderate. On a scale of 0 -10 (0 = resting and 10 = absolute maximum) moderate intensity = 5 or 6. You should still be able to talk but not be able to sing along to your favourite song. You can increase to more intense as you progress.

Resistance Training: enough resistance that you can fatigue within 8- 15 reps

Flexibility: just until you feel the stretch. Do not push too far

T- Time: reps/sets/time

Cardio: 30 minutes/day.  150 minutes/week. Can be broken up into 10 or 15 minute segments

Resistance Training: 8 – 15 repetitions. 1-2 sets. Rest 30 – 90 seconds between sets.

Flexibiltiy: hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Work your way up to 1-2 minutes

T- Type: what kind of workout

Cardio: any type of continuous activity that increases your heart rate. Walk, run, fitness class, dance

Resistance Training: Any type of resistance training. Bodyweight exercises, bands, weights, machines.

Flexibility: Full body. Target all muscle groups. Slow/gentle movements (Dynamic) along with some held positions (Static).


  • WARM-UP: ALL workouts should start with a warm-up that prepares the muscles, joints and mind for the work to come.
      • This should be movement-based to increase body temperature, heart rate and increase the synovial fluid in the joints (lubricates the joints).
  • WORKOUT: Whatever your chosen activity is.
      • You should exercise based on your present fitness level and increase gradually. This will lead to success.
  • COOLDOWN: A gradual decrease in the movement. 
      • to lower our heart rates 
      • include stretching to increase our muscle length and joint range of motion.
      • This will also create a mental relaxation

Q & A

Q- Do I need to work with a Personal Trainer?

Should I do Group Fitness classes?

Can I do it on my own?

All great questions!

A- It depends on many factors: your own fitness knowledge, your confidence to do it on your own, financial, is there a facility near you? Just know you have options.

The benefits of having a trainer or a coach, whether it is one/one or in a group is that you are given guidance and direction on how to do the proper form and techniques.

Working with a certified Personal Trainer: They will set up a program based on your personal fitness level and medical conditions. They will help lead you to success.

Personal Training can now be done online. Due to the recent world pandemic, many trainers have taken their clients online. This allows you to work from home and is an option.

Fitness classes: with a certified instructor, will make sure that all the right components are included. They will watch all participants making sure the proper techniques are used and give modifications for all levels.

There are many fitness classes that you can also do online, either pre-recorded or live.


On your marks…. Get set…. GO!


Bryant, C., Newton-Merrill, S. and Green, D., 2014. ACE Personal Trainer Manual. 5th ed. pp.chapters 5,10,12.

Eparmedx.com. 2020. The New PAR-Q+ And Eparmed-X+: OFFICIAL WEBSITE | Enhancing The Clearance For Physical Activity And Exercise Participation For Everyone!. [online] Available at: <http://eparmedx.com/> [Accessed 11 June 2020].

Galati, T., Trevanian Tsai, N. and Rogers, T., 2015. ACE Medical Exercise Specialist Manual. 1st ed. pp.chapters: 2, 3, 4.

Mayo Clinic. 2018. Fitness Tips For Menopause: Staying Active. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/fitness-tips-for-menopause/art-20044602?reDate=11062020> [Accessed 11 June 2020].

Semeco, MS, RD, A., 2017. How To Start Exercising: A Beginner’s Guide To Working Out. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-start-exercising#section2> [Accessed 11 June 2020].

Vorvik MD, L., 2018. Dance Your Way To Fitness: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia. [online] Medlineplus.gov. Available at: <https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000809.htm> [Accessed 11 June 2020].


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