The 3 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat After 50

Getting older brings many upsides and opportunities, but it also means an expanding waistline for many people. And once the spare tire is there, it can be challenging to get rid of. It’s called stubborn belly fat for a reason.

While having too much belly fat can be unsightly, the bigger problem is that it is associated with chronic disease and health problems.

In this article, you’ll learn why you gain weight and fat around your waistline as you age. More importantly, you’ll learn how to get rid of it for good with the best exercises to lose belly fat after 50.

Why Should You Care About Belly Fat?

As we age, our bodies change in many ways, some for the better, some for the worse. One of the bad things is the accumulation of belly fat.

There are two types of belly fat.

Subcutaneous fat is the soft, pinchable fat under your skin that jiggle when you move. Women generally carry more of it than men.

Tou might not like how it looks, but carrying a little excess subcutaneous fat is not a major health issue.

Visceral fat accumulates inside your abdomen and sits around your internal organs. These fat cells are much more metabolically active.

As we age, our fat deposits tend to redistribute and end up more and more inside the abdomen.

Too much visceral abdominal fat can lead to numerous health problems if left unchecked.1

  • Inflammations in the body
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Impaired blood sugar control
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease

Maintaining a healthy body weight (including weight loss if needed) and losing excess fat in and around the abdominal area significantly reduce these risks and lays the groundwork for healthy aging.

Why Your Body Stores Extra Fat Along The Waistline After 50

The timeline is different for everyone, but sometime around when we cross the 50-mark, many people find that their bodies don’t behave as they used to. 

Changes in metabolism and hormone levels due to natural aging can result in weight gain and make it more challenging to lose excess weight. You find that if you eat like you did when you were young, you store it around your waistline instead of burning it off.

One of the primary reasons is the loss of muscle mass. For the average adult, muscle mass decreases 3–8% per decade after 30, and that rate of decline accelerates the older you get.2

Muscle loss due to aging

Lean muscle burns more calories than body fat, and the more of it you lose, the fewer calories you burn 24/7. 

Over time, it leads to weight gain and the accumulation of excess belly fat. Especially as most of us get more comfortable as we get older, moving less than we used to.

The good news is that this age-related muscle loss is avoidable and reversible, and the solution is both free and fun: you stay physically active and challenge your muscles by lifting stuff.

In women, menopause brings hormonal changes that often result in weight gain, especially in the belly area.3

Losing Belly Fat After 50

Given these biological factors, burning excess stomach fat often proves more challenging as we age.

Fortunately, abdominal fat, including visceral belly fat, responds to exercise and diet like other body fat deposits. Reducing your waist circumference and enjoying the health benefits of less belly fat is achievable after 50.

The key is cultivating sustainable habits, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy diet.

Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat After 50

There are no magic exercises that will melt away your belly fat. Instead, you must look at the whole picture:

  • A healthy diet that provides the nutrients your body needs, allows you to control your calorie intake, and is sustainable in the long run.
  • Exercising to burn calories and to maintain or build muscle mass. A combination of aerobic exercise and strength training is the way to go.

These are the best exercises to lose belly fat after 50.

#1: Aerobic Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, is a great way to improve your overall health and help burn calories.

Aerobic exericse for losing belly fat

While aerobic exercise in itself is not as effective for general weight and fat loss as many people think, it’s crucial for losing belly fat in particular.4 5

Cardio helps you lose visceral fat even without weight loss. If you carry too much belly fat, you can reduce your waist circumference and improve your health by adding cardio to your daily regimen.

The World Health Organization recommends you do at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly for health benefits.

Those minutes do not have to consist of high-intensity cardio that leaves you in a puddle of sweat.

Regular Cardio Helps Keep Your Waistline in Check

Brisk walking, cycling, and swimming are great options for cardiovascular exercise. 

Walking is one of the best exercises to lose belly fat over 50, especially when starting or returning to physical activity. You can do it anytime and anywhere without causing strain on your body.

Incorporate it into your daily routine by taking a walk in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the evening: any time is a good time.

A brisk walk increases your heart rate, burns calories, and helps reduce belly fat without the stress that high-impact workouts can place on your joints. 

Including 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on a daily basis, like brisk walking, helps you battle the bulge. Even in the absence of weight loss, it offers numerous health benefits and effectively burns belly fat.

#2: Strength Training

Strength or resistance training is another scientifically proven way to shed extra pounds and combat belly fat.6

Strength training for losing belly fat

Most people probably don’t think of lifting weights as a way to lose fat, but it is a crucial part of any successful weight-loss plan. Bodyweight exercises are an excellent alternative if you don’t have any training equipment and don’t want to go to a gym.

Strength training is the best way to build lean muscle mass, enhancing your metabolic rate and increasing the number of calories you burn even when at rest.

In addition, it increases your EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which is the amount of oxygen your body consumes after exercise. The result is a higher calorie burn for hours after working out, more so than after doing cardio.7

A weight training routine based around compound movements and focusing on all major muscle groups in your entire body is ideal. You save time and help your body burn fat all day, every day.

Sample Strength Training Plan for Losing Belly Fat

This is our Beginner Barbell Workout Plan, a fantastic introduction to strength training that will help you get stronger, build muscle, and burn fat:

Workout A

  1. Squat: 3 sets x 8–10 reps
  2. Bench Press: 3 sets x 8–10 reps
  3. Barbell Row: 3 sets x 8–10 reps

Workout B

  1. Deadlift: 3 sets x 6–8 reps
  2. Lat Pulldown (or Pull-ups): 3 sets x 8–10 reps
  3. Overhead Press: 3 sets x 8–10 reps

At least 60 seconds of rest between sets helps you perform your best.

You do workout A B A one week, and B A B the week after, then keep rotating. You train both your upper body and lower body, one great exercise after another. Simple yet highly effective workouts help you build muscle, boost your metabolism, and burn that belly fat.

You’ll find this and many other workouts and training programs in our workout tracker StrengthLog. Download it for free using the button for your device:

Download StrengthLog Workout Log on App Store
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It’s like a personal trainer in your pocket! Ad-free and free to use – forever.

Adding an exercise or two for your core muscles can also be beneficial. While you can’t spot-reduce belly fat by performing endless core exercises, strong abdominal muscles act like a girdle and keep your waist nice and tight.

Some great abdominal exercises include crunches, the plank, leg raises, and good old sit-ups.

Overall, strength training is one of the best exercises to lose belly fat and a great way to improve your strength and health.

#3: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT workouts involve short bursts of high-intensity exercises followed by periods of rest or lower-intensity activity. They are popular due to their ability to burn a lot of calories in less time than traditional cardio.

HIIT to lose belly fat

High-intensity interval training is a great way to boost your heart rate and calorie burn, making it an effective strategy for losing body fat, including abdominal and belly fat.8

You can do HIIT cardio with almost any type of exercise, but unless you are an experienced athlete, it’s not a good idea to start with all-out running sprints.

An exercise bike is ideal for HIIT workouts for most people after 50. It doesn’t stress your joints, and changing the intensity is easy and fast.

An example HIIT workout could look like this:

  • A thorough warm-up to elevate your heart rate, increase your body temperature, and prepare your muscles.
  • Thirty seconds of all-out cycling. Pedal as hard as you can at a relatively high resistance.
  • 2–4 minutes of pedaling at a leisurely pace. Don’t rest completely, as you want to keep your heart rate up, but take it slow and recover for the next bout. Don’t rush it for best results – high-intensity intervals are only possible if your body recovers properly between sessions.

You then repeat this cycle of max effort and recovery for 15–30 minutes, depending on how long you need between intervals.

Do You Need to Consult a Doctor Before You Exercise?

Whenever you see a fitness program on TV or read about how important exercise is for your health, you’re always greeted with a friendly reminder to ask your doctor before doing anything strenuous.

But do you have to? 

The American College of Sports Medicine says no, you don’t have to check with your doctor before participating in regular exercise if you don’t suffer from and don’t have any signs or symptoms of the following diseases:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Renal disease


If you do, consult a professional health care provider before engaging in an exercise program.

But if you don’t, having to book an appointment with and go to the doctor, even if you feel great, is another obstacle to exercising and prevents many people from starting.

The risks of being inactive and sitting on the couch far outweigh any risks associated with exercise.

Of course, you should not go from no exercise to the workout schedule of an athlete right away. A good exercise routine eases you into the habit of physical activity. It leaves you wanting more and feeling good, not tired and bored.

But you don’t have to be afraid of exercising simply because you’re over 50 as long as you are healthy.

Lifestyle Changes to Lose Belly Fat After 50

Exercising is crucial for your health and one of the best things you can do to lose belly fat after 50.

However, physical activity goes hand in hand with your diet, sleep, and stress management as part of a holistic approach to health and fat loss.

Nutrition for Fat Loss After 50

Beyond exercise, a balanced diet is vital to losing belly fat.

Diet to lose belly fat

Even the best exercises for losing belly fat after 50 won’t be fully effective without a complementary dietary approach.

A calorie deficit is essential for losing weight: you must eat fewer calories than you burn over time.

For most people, exercise alone is not enough for significant weight loss.

The basics of a healthy diet mean emphasizing whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. Limit consumption of fast food, alcoholic drinks, white bread, and sugary drinks, including fruit juice.

Sugar-sweetened beverages, in particular, is associated with visceral fat gain.10

The Mediterranean diet is a popular example of this kind of eating and has proven effective in reducing belly fat.11

Protein, Fats, and Carbs for Losing Belly Fat

You also need the right amounts of protein, fat, and carbs to help you perform your best, build muscle, and lose stomach fat.

Your body uses protein to build and maintain muscle. For energy, it utilizes fats and carbohydrates.

On a weight-loss diet, you need more protein than the average person. According to research, 1.4–2.0 g protein/kg (0.65–0.91 grams per pound) body weight/day is sufficient for most trainees.12

Your body needs fat to keep your brain, cell membranes, nervous system, and hormone production healthy.

Getting 20–35% of your daily calories from fat is enough for optimal health and ensures your body can perform its best.13

Your remaining calories should come from healthy carbohydrate sources. Some people prefer to eat more carbs, while others feel better on a low-carb diet. How many carbs you eat is mostly a matter of personal preference, as long as you reach your calorie goals.

Planning Your Meals to Lose Belly Fat

You can use hand portions to customize your meal sizes and plan how much protein, fat, and carbs to eat.

  • One portion of protein = one palm
  • One portion of fats = one thumb
  • One portion of carbohydrates = one cupped hand
  • For meals that include vegetables, one portion = one fist.
portion sizes for workout plan for weight loss

Here’s an easy way to determine how much to eat for sustainable and healthy weight loss:

  1. Add two palm-sized portions of a cooked protein source to your plate each meal.
  2. Use one thumb-sized portion of foods high in fat per meal.
  3. Use one cupped handful of a cooked carb source per meal.
  4. Use two fists of fresh or frozen vegetables for meals where greens fit. For example, most people might not prefer veggies for breakfast but enjoy them at lunch or dinner.

A large person needs more food and calories than a small person. Because a large person also has larger palms, you automatically adjust your portion sizes to suit your body size.

Here’s an example of a sample day of eating, following the template above:


  • Oatmeal with berries (one cupped handful total)
  • One cup of Greek yogurt
  • Two whole eggs


  • 6-8 oz (170–230 grams) of turkey breast (two palms)
  • One medium sweet potato with a tablespoon of butter
  • One to two cups of mixed veggies


  • 6-8 oz (170–230 grams) of cooked steak (two palms)
  • ½–⅔ cup (100–130 grams) of cooked rice (one cupped handful)
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • Two cups of non-starchy veggies like spinach, carrots, cauliflower, or peppers

You can also add a protein shake after your strength-training sessions. It gives your muscles easy access to the building materials they need for growth and repair.

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. A recent study showed that it is highly effective for losing abdominal fat.14

Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone, but if it suits your lifestyle, it’s a viable option for trimming the waistline.

Importance of Sleep and Stress Management for Losing Belly Fat After 50

Getting enough sleep and managing stress are also essential to your journey toward losing belly fat.15 16 17

  • Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances, elevating cortisol levels, which can encourage weight gain, especially around the belly.
  • High stress levels also affects sleep quality; poor sleep or lack of sleep is linked with weight gain and increased belly fat.
  • When you don’t sleep enough, you tend to eat more without thinking about it. You’re also more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks packed with calories rather than sitting down for a nutritious meal.

Practicing stress management techniques and getting enough good sleep, combined with regular exercise and healthy eating habits, can aid in achieving your target body weight and keep your abdominal fat under control.

Final Words

Losing belly fat after 50 is challenging but achievable with the right exercises, dietary habits, and lifestyle changes.

Walking, strength training, and HIIT workouts are the best exercises to lose belly fat after 50 and your best allies in your battle against the waistline bulge.

Not only do they help you reduce visceral fat, but they also increase your lean muscle mass and improve your overall health.

Remember that consistency and patience are key. You won’t lose your belly fat overnight, but the good news is that, with time and perseverance, you’ll see the results you want. 

After all, your long-term goal shouldn’t be just to lose belly fat, but to lead a healthier, happier life.

More Like This

If you liked this article about the best exercises to lose belly fat, be sure to check out these great resources:

>> Building Muscle After 50: The Essential Guide

>> How Much Protein To Build Muscle After 60

>> The 10 Best Bodybuilding Supplements for Men Over 50

>> The Best Protein Powder for Men and Women Over 50


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  2. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 7(4):p 405-410, July 2004. Muscle tissue changes with aging.
  3. Womens Health Rep (New Rochelle). 2022; 3(1): 573–581. Adverse Changes in Body Composition During the Menopausal Transition and Relation to Cardiovascular Risk: A Contemporary Review.
  4. Obes Rev. 2021 Jul;22 Suppl 4(Suppl 4):e13256. Effect of exercise training on weight loss, body composition changes, and weight maintenance in adults with overweight or obesity: An overview of 12 systematic reviews and 149 studies.
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  9. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 47(11):p 2473-2479, November 2015. Updating ACSM’s Recommendations for Exercise Preparticipation Health Screening.
  10. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 144, Issue 8, August 2014, Pages 1283-1290. Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Is Associated with Abdominal Fat Partitioning in Healthy Adults.
  11. BMC Medicine Volume 20, Article Number: 327 (2022). The effect of high-polyphenol Mediterranean diet on visceral adiposity: the DIRECT PLUS randomized controlled trial.
  12. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition volume 14, Article number: 20 (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise.
  13. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 41(3):p 709-731, March 2009. Nutrition and Athletic Performance.
  14. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2023 Feb;31 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):139-149. Intermittent fasting and protein pacing are superior to caloric restriction for weight and visceral fat loss.
  15. Current Obesity Reports Volume 7, Pages193–203 (2018). Stress and Obesity: Are There More Susceptible Individuals?
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  17. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2021 Apr;34(2):273-285. The influence of sleep health on dietary intake: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies.
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Andreas Abelsson

Andreas is a certified nutrition coach with over three decades of training experience. He has followed and reported on the research fields of exercise, nutrition, and health for almost as long and is a specialist in metabolic health and nutrition coaching for athletes. Read more about Andreas and StrengthLog by clicking here.