Fitness and weight training does not have to be that difficult. For the older adult, those of us over 50, we can make big strides in our overall health, appearance, and strength with a simple strength training program.
You do not need fancy machines to get the results you require. Though there is some good equipment out on the market today that has its place in strength training, using old fashioned barbells and dumbbells will in my estimation get you the best results. There are cases where a machine may be easier for you to use or easier on your joints, however the machine does the balance work for you and does not apply the stress on smaller stabilizing muscles.
The stabilizer muscles that we have through out our body get weak as we age and are pressed into action when you are weight training with either a barbell or dumbbell. The stabilizers have to do the balance work that the weight machines do. If you want to build true functional strength that you can take with you each day no matter what the environment is then free weights will be the way to go.
There are hundreds of exercises out there that can be done for the human body however, when it comes to keeping it simple and yet productive I would recommend that you concentrate on the bench press, the dead-lift and the squat. There of course may be instances where these exercises will have to be modified somehow due to your level of fitness, previous injuries or other disabilities.
Maintaining a simple exercise program is easier to keep in place instead of multiple exercises as this can be time consuming. if you are just starting out, the three basic exercises mentioned will develop a good sound base for you to build upon.
You can later inject more exercises and isolate other muscle groups as you gain experience, get stronger and are confident in your form and technique.
To start with simple is better. Build your foundation by keeping your program very simple and working the large muscle groups like the chest, back, and thighs.
You can start with a program where you lift three times a week. this gives your body time to recuperate and adjust and get stronger.
Before starting a weight training program check with your doctor to get your medical clearance first.