What Are the Best Workouts for Seniors?

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Portrait of two senior females running outdoors

Staying fit and healthy should be a goal, no matter what your age. When you make fitness and wellness a priority in your senior years, it can help you stay mobile and ensure you feel your best mentally and physically.

Of course, when you’re an older adult, you may find that you need workouts that are gentler on your joints or perhaps modified.

The following are some of the best workouts you can do if you’re a senior, whether you already follow a fitness program or you’re just getting started.

Strength Training

Strength training is important at any age, but especially when you’re older.

When you regularly strength train it can improve your balance, increase your muscle mass, and strengthen your bones. Strength training can also improve your brain function and help you manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis.

You don’t have to be a heavy-lifter to see the benefits of strength training.

Even just doing some bodyweight exercises or using one- or two-pound weights can go a long way to helping you achieve the above benefits.

Another way to do strength-training outside of using light weights or bodyweight is to use resistance bands.

Resistance bands are inexpensive, and they let you challenge your muscles in unique ways.

You can use resistance bands to improve your posture and strengthen your back, for example, using rowing or pulling motions.

Walking

Recently Dr. Anthony Fauci, who’s been heading up the White House Coronavirus Task Force has spoken about his dedication to powerwalking each day with his wife.

At nearly 80 years old, it’s a testament to how effective walking can be to keep you fit no matter what your age, plus it’s often enjoyable to walk outdoors when the weather is nice.

Regularly walking or aiming to get 10,000 steps in a day can help reduce your blood pressure and your risk of diabetes. It can boost your immune system, help with joint pain, and improve your mood.

Plus, walking is great because you don’t need any special facilities or equipment and if you want, you can make it a social activity.

Swimming

Swimming is a wonderful way to work out no matter your age because it combines the benefits of strength training and aerobic exercise, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Swimming is low-impact and easy on the joints, it can help you boost your heart rate, and it’s even a good way to alleviate pain from arthritis.

Swimming is a full-body work out that works your big muscle groups, including your back, shoulders, and  legs.

You can swim on your own, or make it a social work out, and it will likely reduce your stress and boost your mood.

Along with swimming laps, water aerobics is a good option that’s popular among seniors.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a gentle way to exercise that can help you improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. It’s also a workout for your mind. When you do tai chi, since it’s slow and deliberate, it’s like meditating.

Tai chi also provides a workout for all of your major muscle groups and in particular, your core, shoulders, and legs.

Cycling

Cycling is low-impact, like the other exercises on this list, so it’s a good way to improve your length strength if you can’t do more high-impact workouts like running. You can do cycling outdoors or indoors.  

There are indoor cycling classes, and there are also stationary bikes you can buy for home use, many of which include live and on-demand content for all skill levels.

Pilates

Pilates is a low-impact way to workout where you focus on core strength, alignment, and breathing.

You do a lot of work on the floor on a mat, and it can help you with your flexibility and help you in developing a strong core, essential for balance.

What about exercises you should avoid as a senior?

There are a few that may not be good as you get older.

High-intensity interval training is one example. Doing weighted squats or certain leg exercises like the leg press may be tough on your joints.

Overall, there’s not one perfect workout for everyone. Instead, you should experiment to find a routine that you feel not only helps you stay active and fit but also one that you enjoy. If you enjoy your workouts, you’re more likely to stick with them and make it a habit, and that’s what’s important.

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