Applying Science to over Fifty Fitness

Adriano Harwood
3 min readMay 29, 2023


Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

As an individual studying towards a degree in Applying sport and exercise to science and coaching I understand their are so many opinions once you hit being fifty and beyond about how to correctly exercise, however the myth behind them does not always make sense

Here are four false ideas about exercise and being over Fifty

You need to train differently the older you get.

Fortunately for anyone past the age of fifty this made of both truth and half truth. Yes technically the older you get you need to be more careful especially when starting out in a new exercise program, however your body reacts scientifically the same way it always has. Yes you need more recovery time and maybe at a lower intensity (again to begin with) but the fundamental way of increasing muscle and technically cardiovascular ( relating to the heart and blood vessels) which is progressive overload.

The principle being increasing the stimulus you place on the body. This means intensifying the weight you lift or the rep/sets and this is the same as cardiovascular as well( the difference being you increase the distance, varying terrain.

You need to understand if you want to progress you simply need to apply these principles. The fact remains you simply build up slower than normal and science behind will affect your body the same.

You can’t train as hard when you were younger

Whether this is true or not scientifically your body’s fundamentally the same as someone in their fifties. I can train just as hard as when i was twenty I also train with many people my age and above. The fact being this more about mindset than physical ability or adaptation. This one firmly in the hands of the person participating, however there is science behind it over working or pushing too hard can lead to a burnout and potentially serious health issues.

While this is scientifically true working gradually and an intensity within short time you can train just as hard as when you were younger ( however more recovery time might be needed)

You should avoid lifting weights when you get older.

This is a big myth that 90% of the population already know, however not everybody knows that weight training can reverse conditions such Sarcopenia ( or gradual age related loss of muscle mass ,strength and function resulting in reduce mobility weakness e.t.c ) and the prevention of osteoporosis ( systemic skeletal disorder characterised by decrease bone density).

The pressure on the joints are actually beneficial as long as the correct way of training is applied. Weight training in your fifties and beyond has a more positive effect on your body than you could ever imagine in fact if you correctly train the results will be more happy and relax with the way you look you may never look back.

You can’t reverse the ageing process with exercise

While exercise cannot completely reverse the ageing process it had been shown to have significantly impact the overall health and can slow down the some of the negative effect of ageing, both physical and mental wellbeing. Studies show that resistance training not only slow down muscle loss but it also maintain cognitive functioning ( even reduced the risk of dementia). While exercise can’t reverse time it does have many positive effects resulting in the some prevention and reduction in age related disability.

The more in depth you apply scientific principle the more you will realise that exercise is actually more about scientific knowledge than simply training. While this short look at exercising when you are over Fifty and beyond the more fascinating knowledge becomes especially the science behind it.

Just remember you don’t need to be a sports scientist to train effectively but a bit of knowledge can help.



Adriano Harwood

mental health suffer and freelance journalist in the making