Exercise for 50+: Do’s & Don’ts for Starting Out

Interview: Dr. Mimi Secor

Dr. Mimi Secor DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner specializing in Women’s Health for over 40 years. She is a sought-after national speaker and consultant, has been featured in numerous local and national media outlets, and is the #1 international bestselling author of Debut a New You: Transforming Your Life At Any Age.


Low impact, High success: Be more careful about how you exercise after age 50. Learn from Dr. Mimi why our bodies need a little more TLC when exercising and when in the gym, which exercises and activities are most recommended (and least risky), and which ones you should probably avoid, as well as types of fitness classes that are ideal for 50+ people.

What Dr. Mimi Secor Can Say in an Interview 
About a Fitness Program for 50+ adults:

It is critically important that people 50+ engage in regular exercise for multiple reasons including; reduces cardiovascular risk, reduces diabetes risk (helps control preexisting diabetes), reduces cognitive decline (may prevent Alzheimer’s), helps maintain muscle mass/balance and therefore reduces risk of falls (and mortality associated with these falls especially hip fracture), etc. Recent research suggests adopting a healthy lifestyle in midlife may add up to 10 years to your life expectancy. 


  • Current guidelines recommend 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week, including resistance training (weightlifting) twice a week.
  • Adults over 50 or those who have been sedentary should start exercising slowly (low intensity) and for short periods of time (5-15 mins). This is important until they adapt to exercise which takes longer for older individuals. Older adults are also more prone to injury and this risk increases when exercise is not started gradually or is too vigorous, especially when beginning. There is a saying, “Start low and go slow. Need MORE RECOVERY TIME TOO.
  • The most significant factor in determining the scope of exercise is based on the level of fitness of the individual. If an individual has never exercised or they haven’t exercised in many years, then it is even more important that individuals start slowly and gradually. This is also particularly true if individuals have had past injuries, have current injuries or limitations, or if they have medical conditions. Older adults should always consult with their care providers before starting an exercise program. Some may need a stress test, too. 

Before You Start Any Fitness Program

    • Clearance by your health care provider (NP, PA, MD)  is critical to be sure it is safe for you to start an exercise program. This is most important if over 50 or if you have a family or personal history of medical conditions that might impact the safety of exercise. These include cardiometabolic conditions such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
    • Get good sneakers, workout clothes, and other supportive athletic apparel that can aid you while you exercise.
    • Consider hiring a physical therapist or personal trainer (with experience working with older clients/with challenges). Professionals can coach you in how to lift weights and what activities and movements you might want to avoid or modify based on your limitations.

Proceed With Enthusiasm! (and good sense)

  • Recent research suggests adopting a healthy lifestyle in midlife may add up to 10 years to your life expectancy. There’s some good motivation to focus on health and wellness!
  • But as we age, our bodies decline. If need to exercise and get the benefits of both cardio and resistance training. We begin to lose muscle mass and bone mass at age 30, and this loss accelerates after 40 and beyond. In addition, we also lose balance and flexibility, especially over the age of 65. When we are older, we must be very careful when we begin to exercise because we are more likely to suffer from injuries. These can include muscle strains/sprains and tendon/ligament injuries, falls and even stress fractures.

Exercise Suggestions

  • Current research supports that any length of an exercise episode is beneficial and adds to the total daily exercise tally.
  • Cardio. For the 50+ age set low-impact cardio exercise is recommended, such as walking, bicycling, and swimming (including water aerobics) for a total of 150 minutes a week.
  • Stretching. Stretching, including Gentle YOGA, is also important as we age in order to increase flexibility, reduce stiffness, and risk of injury. Stretching may also reduce pain associated with conditions such as arthritis.
  • What to AVOID. High-impact exercise such as running, aerobics classes, boot camps, and heavy weightlifting.  

Other points to prioritize

  • DIET, DRINK MORE WATER, SLEEP, and MINDSET should also be a part of any overall wellness plan.
  • Managing stress through self-care measures is critically important in order to reduce cortisol levels (which have been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even a shorter life span). 

Learn More!

Read my bestselling book, Debut a New You, Transforming Your Life at Any Age, (now out in AUDIO). Here all aspects of health & fitness are addressed— including nutrition, exercise, mindset and environmental factors (work, home, gym, etc.). Also visit MimiSecor.com for resources, programs, and other educational recommendations that can help support your wellness goals.


Available for Interviews: Dr. Mimi Secor

Dr. Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner specializing in Women’s Health for 40+ years and more recently, Health and Fitness. She is a popular National Speaker and Consultant, educating advanced practice clinicians and consumers around the country and the world. Dr. Secor and her daughter, Pro Body Builder and Health Coach, “Coach Kat,” run a business helping stressed out professionals become healthier, more confident, and successful. She is also the bestselling author of Debut a New You: Transforming Your Life at Any Age. Dr. Mimi Secor serves the Boston area and travels extensively around the country to help educate and motivate others on how to actualize health and wellness goals.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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