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Fitness Tips for Seniors

Find out what exercises and workouts are best for older individuals.

By
Ben Greenfield
Episode #067

Based on the list above, good exercises for seniors should include:

  • Muscle Strength
    Weight lifting machines are perfect for introducing a senior to exercise, especially since there is significantly lower risk of falling or injury. Free weights and elastic bands can be included once comfortable with machines. A 68-year-old friend of mine recently became certified as a TRX instructor, and this is certainly more challenging, but completely do-able for senior exercisers.

  • Cardiovascular Endurance
    Treadmills can easily be used by seniors, and can actually help with building both cardiovascular fitness and balance, since a rail is there to help. Elliptical trainers and bicycles are also good for cardiovascular endurance, and for beginners, a recumbent bicycle is a great option.

  • Metabolism
    Rather than simply riding a bicycle at a set pace, seniors should attempt to include a few hard intervals that involve hard breathing and burning muscles. This will help to boost the slowing metabolism.

  • Bone Density
    Bone grows stronger in response to loading and impact. While impact-sprinting on a treadmill may be difficult for seniors, loading of the bones and spinning along the long vertical axis is a very good idea, and can be achieved with exercises such as squats, overhead presses, chest presses, or lunges.

  • Flexibility
    While many yoga classes require a degree of balance that can be difficult for seniors, a beginner yoga class is the perfect solution for improving flexibility. In addition, a full body stretch routine can be included after exercise, when the muscles and joints are more warm and pliable.

A Workout Program for Seniors

For an aging individual who is just getting into exercise, like Julie’s mom, I’d recommend starting with the following routine, 3-4 times per week:

  1. Warm-up for 10 minutes on a recumbent bicycle, alternating 2 minutes of easy pedaling with 2 minutes of hard pedaling.

  2. Perform a full-body stretch, including flexibility moves for the upper and lower body such as arm circles, leg circles, toe touches, reaching for the sky, and torso twists.

  3. Do a full body circuit on exercise machines that consists of 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of chest press, seated row, shoulder press, pulldown, leg press and leg extension and leg curl.

  4. Finish with abdominal bracing on the ground, which simply involves lying on the ground with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor, then pressing the low back down and tightening the abs, holding for 5-10 seconds, releasing, and then repeating for 10-12 repetitions. This does not involve low back bending and extending, and can build abdominal strength while being easier on the spine.

Remember, it’s never too late to start exercising So what are you waiting for? Go get fit!

If you have questions about any of these fitness tips for seniors, or your own to add, simply share them below in Comments or on the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
 

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About the Author

Ben Greenfield
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