Bodies change as they age. This means that our workouts may need to change as we age as well. People over 60 have a harder time building muscle and take longer to recover between workouts. None of this means that people over 60 should stop exercising regularly, however. The personal trainers at Plunkett Fitness are experts at creating workout regimens for people of any age with different fitness goals.
Benefits of Working Out for Seniors
Regardless of age, exercise is an important part of our lives. For people over the age of 60, the risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as other health conditions, are much higher than in younger people. Maintaining a healthy weight is one way to prevent these conditions from arising.
Staying active also increases stamina, flexibility, and bone and muscle strength. All of these things tend to decrease as we age, so working out seems to reverse or stop some aspects of aging in its tracks.
Exercise can also lower your blood pressure and risk for cancer. Consistent workouts can boost good cholesterol, help control diabetes, and put you in a better mood.
While working out is important for those over the age of 60, it is also important to understand what kinds of exercises are beneficial.
Four Types of Workouts for People Over 60
Men and women over 60 need to be focused more on specific fitness goals than someone who is 30. These four workout types are the most important for seniors.
Cardio exercises are technically good for everyone, but seniors benefit from the fat burning power of aerobic exercise.
Depending on the kinds of activities you like to do, there are a number of cardio options for seniors. If you are into sports, tennis is a great way to burn some serious calories in a fun way. Racquetball and basketball are other options in many places that provide a sports environment for those looking to get or stay active.
If you are looking for low-impact exercises that are easier on the joints, consider swimming or walking. A brisk walking session of 30 or so minutes can burn a lot of calories and aid in weight loss, which becomes more important as we age as it is harder to keep excess weight off. A few minutes a day on an elliptical or stationary bike can also provide some good cardio for those over 60.
Muscle development tends to slow down substantially as the body ages, but working on your strength is important no matter your age. For both men and women, strength training prevents the loss of muscle mass and bone density. In addition, seniors who take part in weight training are less likely to feel sore and stiff.
Low-impact weight training with light weights or resistance bands is going to be extremely beneficial in the long-term. Seniors should aim for two 30-minute weight training sessions a week but avoid working the same muscle groups two days in a row.
Bone Building Exercises
Since bone mass decreases as we age, and osteoporosis becomes more of a concern, exercises that promote bone strength are more important for those over 60. Weak, brittle bones can lead to more broken bones and hospital visits.
To help strengthen bones, incorporate two or three 30-minute resistance training exercises into your weekly workout routine. Doing resistance exercises with 10- to 20-pound weights will help prevent the loss of bone mass.
You can also take vitamin D or spend a little time in the sun (with sunscreen, of course) to help promote bone mass as well.
Flexibility and Balance Workouts
Aging joints can be painful but working on flexibility can lead to a reduced amount of pain.
Balance is crucial for those over 60. A fall could lead to broken bones that will take much longer to heal than they would have 20 years ago. Having good balance could prevent expected falls.
Yoga is a great way to increase both flexibility and balance, and a lot of yoga stretches don’t require getting completely twisted up. When you are first getting started, it is a good idea to take a class so that an instructor can help you with your form.
Both tai chi and Pilates are other exercises that can help with both balance and flexibility.
Tips for Exercising Safely After 60
Aging can lead to sore and stiff joints, as well as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. If you are experiencing any of these problems, here are a few tips for safe exercising:
- Keep exercises light to help alleviate—instead of aggravating—these conditions.
- Warm up for at least 10 to 15 minutes before starting your workout.
- To lose weight, exercise for 45 minutes a day at least five times a week. Diet is also an important part of weight loss.
- Be sure to stay hydrated during workouts.
- Talk to a doctor before starting any new workout regimen and again if you experience any chest pain, lightheadedness, dizziness or nausea, or difficulty breathing.
If you are over 60 and want to get or stay active, Plunkett Fitness can help. With personal training, group training, and semi-private training sessions, our trainers can help you realize your fitness goals. Our trainers provide both workout and nutritional help to our trainees for the best results. To get started, call Plunkett Fitness today at 913-390-3360.