I hate it. I really do. At 56, I’ve never conjured up a love for exercising or looking for the best workout plan. Not just for the sake of it. Racquetball, volleyball, tennis, paddleboarding, backyard basketball, and football, sign me up.
But pushups, crunches, weight training, jumping jacks, squats, etc. — I detest them all. If exercise were a lifeform, it would be a giant, brown, ugly cockroach, and I would line it up squarely in my sights and squash it underneath a size 10.5 running shoe, which I also hate.
However, at 56, the choices are 1) exercise or 2) be fat and surrender to diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease, which I inherited from my father. Nice of him to pay it forward.
I had a wellness check 19 months ago, and the doctor’s tests confirmed my health numbers were headed in the wrong direction. My weight indeed was, as I checked in fatter than 1977 Elvis.
So, in January 2022, I started dieting and traversed through several iterations until finally landing on intermittent fasting, healthy Keto, and walking. By October, I was down 35 pounds.
Then cold weather arrived, which I loathe a little worse than exercise.
So, I packed on 10 pounds to survive the Winter.
You Need a Workout Plan That’s Easily Repeatable
Now it’s time to get back into fighting shape, and I needed to design the best workout plan for someone who hates to exercise.
And the best workout plan sucks if you aren’t consistent. So, the best workout plan must be easily repeatable, especially for people who would rather eat tree bark than exercise.
For me, the foundation of consistency is structure. I need to know exactly what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, and especially with exercise, how long the torture will last. Then I want to check off a box to see the days stacking up behind me. And as a wordsmith, if I can give this best workout plan for people who hate to exercise a catchy name, even better. A double meaning would be fantastic.
So, I created the 6:30 workout plan.
It starts at 6:30 am. I have an alarm reminder for Monday through Friday. I take the weekends off. I hate hating the weekends, and my 56-year-old body deserves a break.
At 6:30 am. I do 6 exercises for 30 minutes. Double meaning, right?
Here’s the routine for the best workout plan if you hate to exercise, briefly explaining why each exercise is ideal for people over 50. And the program requires minimum space and one set of dumbbells.
The Best Workout Plan If You’re Over 50 and Hate to Exercise
Mon-Wed-Friday (3 sets each)
- Pushups: benefits your cardiovascular system, strengthens your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core, builds stronger joints and bones, and improves balance. I’ve done pushups for a while.
- Crunches: strengthens your core, including your lower back muscles and obliques, which improves your posture and balance. However, crunches may be off-limits if you’re over 60.
- Bicep curls (sometimes I cheat and do two sets): let’s be honest, men. Who doesn’t want a pair of big guns? But they serve more than our vanity. Bicep curls will counteract atrophy by promoting muscular growth, giving us functional strength as we age.
- Tricep pulls (I may cheat here, too): counteracts muscular atrophy, builds functional strength essential for pushing movements, like getting out of a chair or lifting objects, supports the elbow joint, and helps maintain bone density.
- Weighted squats: benefits multiple muscle groups because it’s a compound exercise — quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Strengthening these muscles can improve balance, stability, and functional strength for daily activities.
- Walking: helps improve balance and coordination and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Walking is a low-impact exercise that’s easy on the joints, and one cardiologist said walking is the best exercise for people over 50.
- Weighted squats
- Jumping jacks: improves cardiovascular health, balance, and coordination and burns calories while being a low-impact, easy aerobic exercise on the joints. Jumping jacks also maintain blood pressure levels, decrease bad LDL cholesterol, increase good HDL cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Dumbbell flies: works and strengthens the pectoral muscles, essential for various functional upper body movements involving pushing, pulling, and reaching. Flies also engage your shoulder muscles, promoting stability and supporting good posture.
As for the number of reps, I do my max each time. I’m not straining for a magical number.
More Than A Workout Plan – An Exercise in Mental Fortitude
The great thing about this exercise plan is that I only hate half of it. I can do 1–5 in 15 minutes because I work quickly through the routine. Why linger on tasks you despise? Get in, get out.
I enjoy walking, which is one of the best exercises for mid-lifers, and you can stack other habits with walking — listen to informative audiobooks or podcasts, catch up on emails, walk your dog, etc.
I should be able to submit to 15 minutes of hell for good health. So should you.
You don’t grow by doing the things you want to. Maturity is marked by doing the hard things you ought to do and if you can’t lead yourself, how do you expect to lead your family and others? Every important habit you want to build into your life should be prioritized and done first thing in the morning. Don’t give yourself all day to dread it and talk yourself out of it. You’re better than that.
There it is — the best workout plan if you hate working out.
Now go do hard things.
Grow stronger down the stretch of your life. My book, Stronger Down the Stretch – Surviving Midlife Without a Crisis, will give you an edge.