For those over sixty, workouts and exercise can be daunting, especially for people who have mobility issues, bad joints or other orthopedic problems. The realization that you can’t do what you could do when you were thirty, and the fear of possibly injuring yourself are among the things that keep many older adults from initiating a workout program. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a brutal, sweaty workout, though; practically any level of exercise is beneficial for people across all age groups.
Walking is a favorite choice for older adults; just a brisk walk for thirty minutes an day can be enough to realize some cardiovascular benefits. Swimming is another near-perfect exercise, working the entire body and all muscle groups as well as the cardiovascular system, with none of the impact of running or other strenuous exercise.
Weights and resistance training aren’t just for younger people – practically anyone can engage in strength training and resistance exercise with dumbbells or resistance bands. The medicine ball has made a comeback in many personal-training and exercise circles as well. Medicine balls can be great for core training and balance, as well as whole-body exercises.
Whatever you do as far as an exercise regime past the age of 60, there are some important things to remember. When we mentioned that a 60-year-old can’t do what a 25-year-old can do, that also means it’s not smart to try to do some of the things you could do when you were that age. Joint-related injuries are not uncommon past the age of 60, and can take much longer to heal. Recovery from a weight-training workout is also slower, as older bodies have a reduced absorption rate for nutrients.
Keep your workouts shorter and your weights lighter (with more reps) – nobody will think less of you for that, and you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else at the gym! Also, remember that older muscles tend to shorten and be less flexible, making stretches and warmups/cooldowns more important than ever. Don’t forget core exercises as part of your training program; “core” doesn’t just mean your abdominal muscles, it includes the lower back as well and is the basis for a strong, safe workout and good balance. If possible, get together with a trainer to help plan out a good circuit-training regime that will work for you.