Best Exercise Routines for Older Moms

Updated on May 06, 2015
K.C. asks from Tampa, FL
22 answers

Hey...I'm 52 and have 2 daughters, 11 and 13. I am finding it harder to lose weight and keep it off. I belong to a gym but haven't made it there lately. What ideas do all of you have for exercise for moms in my age range? I really, really need to get back in shape. I'm not obese, but definitely not where I want to be.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Washington DC on

i'm a few years older than you and have been battling it for a long time now. i'm pissed off at myself for hitting my 50s as fat as i did, because it's absolutely true that the older you get, the harder it is.
there's no single approach for me. i run several days per week (slowly, but at least one run over 6 miles) and lift weights at least twice a week. but it's all for naught as far as weight loss because i'm still eating too much. i'm a reasonably fit fat girl, but still fat. recently i cut all processed sugar and feel terrific, but still haven't lost any weight. apparently i just need to eat less all round.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I joined a zumba class. We have people of all ages in class, and if you like music, you might really like that. What are you into? Would you enjoy a hike or a bike ride? Maybe go bike somewhere for a picnic with the kids? I can't stand the gym per se, so I like to do things like go for walks. My goal is to walk my daughter to or from school 3x a week in nice weather. For starters. My DH is a runner and also bikes and swims laps (when the pool is open in the summer).

IMO, the best routine is the one you stick with.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

We've been getting into a routine. We get kids off to school then go to the gym and do an exercise class. It's nice to go and see everyone else that's in the class. Making acquaintances gives me a little support because they always ask after us when we've missed a couple of days then come back.

Having my bag packed and ready to go leaves me no excuses and it sitting by the door encourages me to grab it and go.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am not overweight and I enjoy walking.

Our neighborhood and community has lots of bike and hike trails and I just go out, walk and clear my head.

I am not a huge eater and I LOVE infused water. I drink at least 6 bottles of water a day.

I might have a ginger ale or seltzer water once every 2 weeks... NO sodas. I do not have a sweet tooth so I don't worry about desserts, etc.

As far as your intake of food... moderation is key.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Swimming laps is the core of my exercise routine (1/2 mile 3x a week), along with yoga one to two times a week. I added walking 45 minutes on the tread mill a couple times a week to the mix in January. It varies a good bit (haven't done the walking or the yoga the past few weeks due to work and daughter's dance recital rehearsals), but in a good week, I'm doing something 5 or 6 days in the week. Doing the yoga class is really good for me because the instructor gets me to do poses I might not think of myself, and the company is nice. I have not dropped much weight (would like to lose 5 pounds or so), however I feel pretty fit. Interestingly, I did find I had lost a couple pounds after Passover because I ate no cake/ muffins/cookies/bread and almost no crackers while eating more veggies only for that week. Those pounds have already come back, so it's clear what I would need to do in terms of diet if my weight were to go up significantly.

Working on a college campus makes all this possible for me, I will say. I know most people don't have easy access to a pool, however from what I have heard, swimming is one of the best long-term forms of exercise--low-impact, low injury, complete body workout. Yoga gives me the stretch and stamina as well as mental focus/relaxation. Walking is a good 'I did my exercise thing' and I can read during it. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

For weight control it's all about calories. Consume less, because at our age (I'm almost 47) it takes a LOT more exercise to burn off what we did 20 years ago. If you have a smart phone it's easy to track calories there, if not just do it from your computer.
Exercise is great for your overall health, heart/lungs and muscles, etc. but unless you are running/swimming/cycling 2 or 3 hours a day you need to EAT LESS.
No getting around it. No magic. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I walk. I can control how far I go, uphill or flat, and it's easy. It's free. And it gets me out in the great outdoors which makes me do it. I had a treadmill and found there wasn't enough incentive for me.

I do exercises that strengthen my muscles. So I have little weights, and I just do reps. That helps with the tone. You can do in front of TV and I use an exercise ball.

I do have yoga for dummies, Pilates for dummies, aerobics for dummies ... DVDs. I will do for a while, and they were good (short segments so you can decide what you have time for each workout) but I still prefer to get outdoors.

Good luck :)

** The key is to find something you enjoy. I have friends who love Zumba (the dancing workout). A friend of mine belongs to a bike club - they go out once during the week in evening, and on Sundays. Yoga is also popular, and swimming.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I just watched a Ted Talk about eating and exercising, by a neuroscientist.

And the upshot: always, always exercise in the morning.

Don't diet. Get rid of a dieting mentality and just eat until you are full and when you are hungry. Eating healthy of course.

At your kids ages you should be able to make it to your gym a couple of mornings a week? Before school? After Drop Off?

At our age, I'm 55 this year with a 16 & 13 yo's at home still, we must make time for stretching and some light weight lifting, like the circuit training, or yoga.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I need strength training AND cardio AND clean diet to lose weight. Even to maintain it. I shoot for 75-80% fresh veggies and fruit per day with the other 20% being healthy carbs and protein and a tiny bit of splurging.

Right now for my strength I'm doing Piyo (Chalene, the Piyo coach is 46) workouts from DVDs early in the day, then long walks at night. I also go to a gym for some classes that incorporate both strength and cardio. I hate straigt-up weights and then treadmill/elliptical, but sometimes I do that too. It always changes. I used to teach Zumba which is great cardio and toning, but not enough muscle work to burn fat away on it's own for me and I got sick of it after a few years, but its a fun boost if you haven't done it!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

For me, the most important thing is to mix it up. I'm in a strength class at a gym that has a lot of people ranging from 35 to 75. All the exercises can be adapted based on your condition - so as you get stronger, you add more heavier weights. A lot of women don't realize how important weight training is to ward off osteoporosis. And muscle burns more calories! So we are all able to do the same things, with new people using 4 pound weights and stronger ones using 7 or 9 (and up) weights. We work all the muscle groups in each class, but the equipment varies so things don't get boring - small medicine balls, large stability balls, barbells, resistance bands, hand weights, etc. We're very supportive of each other and the class even has 2 unofficial "social directors" to welcome new people, help them set up equipment, etc. We give people a call if they don't show up for a while, just to encourage them. (We also have pot luck dinners now and then to lift a fork and a wine glass instead of just a weight!)

The other piece is cardio - for me, a treadmill works great because I put a book on the book rack (I have a clip that holds the pages open) and I focus on that instead of the timer! It lets me read without guilt (because I'm doing "something" rather than "nothing" - as we all torture ourselves for taking time to do something pleasurable!). And my phone is in the locker room and no one bothers me or interrupts me! I set it for a target heart rate, but others set it for time or speed or distance. Most gyms provide free instruction on equipment although of course they offer personal training as well. Some people really like working with a trainer because they really have to be accountable to someone else.

A lot of women diet incorrectly and really wind up restricting their food intake so much that their metabolism slows down because the body thinks it's starving and it stores fat. So be sure you eat plenty of healthy fats (nuts, olive oil, fish, avocado) and plenty of protein. If we just eat lettuce and celery, we are nutrient deprived. I also use a balanced supplement to bridge the gap between what's in my food (which is nutrient deficient in the US, no matter what you do) and what my body needs to flourish. I have more energy than women 20 years younger, and I'm the only one in my exercise class who is never ever injured or sore - including the instructor. Staying injury-free is the key to consistent activity.

See if you can find a friend, either on your own or through a gym, who will be your partner in this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Go for walks. It's easy on the joints, you can do it anywhere, and doesn't take that much time. Plus, it helps decompress the mind.

I took up running (well, jogging) about 3 years ago. I'm 46. Walking for the same amount of time (30 minutes minimum several times a week) can be just as effective as running, with less injury potential. No special clothes required. And if you get the urge to step it up a bit, go for it! You're never too old.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Do whatever makes you happy enough to do regularly. You might want to get/ borrow a dog, as they have to be walked twice daily. add some speed/ distance to the walk, add some weights, and all of a sudden you've managed a workout.

there are a series of 10 minute fitness videos which are good too. I think the ones I have are by crunch. combined whole body movements at speed end up giving you a full body workout and cardio all at once.

F. B.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I am 51 and yes, it's been more challenging to lose weight, but I have also had foot injuries. However, I am on the mend and here's what I would do.. start SLOW.... don't run out get any of those aggressive videos like PX90 or T15.. Frankly, they are for those already in decent shape. Instead, I prefer someone like Denise Austin.. she is more reasonable and goes at a good pace but still aggressive enough.. Also, get a pedometer and try and do 10,000 steps a day, which depending on your stride, you take you to about 5 miles a head (you'd be surprised by how fast it adds up) also... walk more places.. if you go to the mall, park farther away.. take steps, etc.. lastly.. and most importantly, you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet.. for me, this has meant laying off the white flour items.... or things that cause my insulin to rise which includes, white flour, sugar, even too much natural sugar as in fruit... example.. bananas or mangos... fruits with high sugar content can raise the insulin and cause you to gain belly fat.. at
51, I have just become so insulin resistant that it doesn't take much to pack on the pounds.. also, by this age, depending upon your diet, the liver tends to become a bit sluggish and hence slows the metabolism.. so at some point, consider a cleanse. doesn't need to be extreme.. a green smoothie/juice... lots of water... there are many on the net..
In my case, exercising alone no longer does it, it's when I eat properly and exercise that the pounds begin to come off..
good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Jump rope. You can do it in your yard or on the street. It's a great workout.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

As we age it's all about our metabolism, it seems.
It's about revving up our metabolism w/ exercise & food choices.
So baically I eat something every 3 hours (3 well balanced meals & 3 healthy
well rounded snacks).
I, also, use exercise DVD's. You can either buy inexpensive ones at Walmart
or Target. Or I check them out from our local library.
I do pushups, tricep dips, planks, ab crunches every morning.
I try to lift small weights at home 3 days a week.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Get back to your gym routine.
Watch pizza, pasta, bread, cake, cookies. Those are 5 things to avoid!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

my MIL lost 20 lbs and fit into her wedding dress at age 76. She did it by switching to a plant based diet. She walks a few times a week, but she did that even with the extra weight. I think the key to her success is that she just decided to do it for 6 weeks to see if she could be happy with out dairy and meat. To her surprise, she didn't miss it much at all.
I personally find that after babies, it did not matter how healthy I ate or how much I exercised. I had to restrict calories to lose weight.
As for best exercise, Thats so personal. But I'm really finding that Crossfit provides just the right amount of motivation, support, and one-on-one training given some previous injuries. With a good coach everything can be modified for your fitness level. There are really fit people there and people that need lots of modification. I'm doing a good portion of my work out modified. I don't compete with others on how much weight I can lift. I see people of all ages, all abilities. Most of them are fit, because, well, cross fit makes you fit- there's no getting around it. Its not cheap, so you go otherwise you are wasting a good amount of money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Walking or anything in the water. Both will be easier on the joints. Water aerobics or water walking are more of a workout than you would expect because of the resistence of the water. Be sure to do weight bearing exercises of some kind. That is really important in helping to prevent osteoporosis.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have found that having a dog keeps you going. I love walking him. My next door neighbor and I walk our dogs every morning around the neighborhood. I'm 36, but have terrible back problems( pregnancy) and knees( old injuries). Walking is wonderful. It's cardio, and works all your muscles.

I also have an elliptical which I love.

The best thing is to find something you enjoy and stick with it. I also have managed to lose weight by drinking more water, reducing sugar, and not eating a lot of foods that contain cholesterol. It works!



answers from Baton Rouge on

I'm 50, and have fibromyalgia and a bum knee. I don't work out, but I stay active. I walk our three dogs several times a day (we don't have a fence, so they have to be leashed to go potty). I do what amounts to squats when I clean the five cat litter boxes in the house several times a day (six litter boxes if you count the one in the rabbit hutch).



answers from Boston on

Try walking or doing a walk/jog for 40-60 min./day. By walk/jog I mean do something like walk for 5 min., jog for 3 min. alternate on and off. Then just eat right and try to stay somewhat active throughout the day. Do yard work, rake the lawn, park far away from whatever store you need to go in to, mop the floors, vacuum, etc. All the extra chores you do will burn additional calories.



answers from Sacramento on

I'm 45 and love yoga. Look up the calories burned in a yoga flow class and you'll be surprised. It's challenging and helps to firm things up. I'm dripping sweat in this class but love it. I'm recovering from plantar fasciitis and have some other health issues, and it doesn't aggravate any of them.

I keep it diversified, though. I do a yoga class one day a week, an interval training DVD or weight training combined with exercise bike at the gym another day, and walking every day. Today, I went bike riding with my daughter. It's good to do a variety of things to keep it interesting.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions