When we are 60, it is more important than ever to adapt our training to suit our aging body. By the age of 60, you start to lose an amazing amount of muscle – “You lose 3 percent a year, which is about 4.5 pounds of muscle a year,” says Suzanne Andrews, President of Healthwise Exercise – and you need to start paying special attention focus on more strength, balance, mobility and joint health. You need to exercise as much for your bones as you do your muscles. Perhaps most important, however, is the larger goal of averting decline.
According to a study published in 2020 in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, researchers found that “any type of physical activity” is linked to slowing decline and reducing the risk of disease, frailty and disability. As we’ve reported countless times, strength training is the best way to get the most out of your physical activity. According to an extensive report published by the CDC, adding weight training at least 2 days a week will help people over 60 be healthier, more active, more energetic, and more independent – and also maintain bone density, improve balance and coordination, and reduce falls Risk and lead to a much higher quality of life.
“The frailty and decreased energy levels we associate with aging, such as difficulty walking, climbing stairs, or carrying food, are largely due to muscle loss,” their health experts write. “This muscle breakdown is mostly the result of inactivity. The old saying goes when it comes to muscle: ‘use it or lose it'” “
What follows are all the movement exercises that no one over 60 should skip if they want to stay strong, mobile and lead a vital life – all according to doctors and trainers. So read on and don’t miss out on the secret tricks to getting a slim body after 60, experts say.
“Using an elliptical trainer is the single most important exercise people over 60 should be doing,” said James Dan, MD, a geriatric clinical advisor and a member of the Senior Helpers Board of Directors. “It is not stressful and easy on the joints, and you move your legs and arms through ranges of motion, which supports flexibility.”
In addition, he says, “it also helps build strength in your arms, legs, and core (with good posture), thus helping you gain strength. “
Dr. Dan advises those over 60 to exercise the elliptical trainer 3-4 times a week for 20-30 minutes each time. Are you over 60? Make sure you don’t make these practice mistakes, experts say.
Walking regularly is crucial at any age – especially if you are over 60 years old – but you may want to do a little more resistance. “I recommend my patients over 60 to do strength training that focuses on the major areas of bone loss and osteoporosis,” said Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie, MD, CEO & Lead Wellness Physician at EmbraceYOU Weight & Wellness. “Arm weights, core training, and lower leg resistance help. You can start your normal walk with some light arm weights or ankle weights, which can be an easy way to add additional resistance training.”
It is of course called the “King of the Exercises” for a reason. “People over 60 shouldn’t skip the classic squat,” says Karisa Karmali, an ISSA-certified personal trainer, ISSA-certified online fitness coach, NASM-certified nutrition coach and founder of Self-Love and Fitness. “This is a compound movement that works many muscle groups at the same time, including the glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings.” At the end of the day, she says, “It’s the basis for all other exercises like walking, cardio, and any bodyweight or strength training.”
Pam Sherman, PT, owner of The Perfect Balance, agrees. “The reason a lot of seniors go into assisted living is because they can’t get up as well,” she says. “I recommend customers in their kitchen do both squats on a kitchen chair and push-ups against the counter to build upper body strength.” And for more great fitness tips, don’t miss out on this one life changing exercise trick for people over 60, experts say.
A distant cousin of the squat is the staggered chair stand. “It’s probably one of the most versatile and effective exercises for adults over 60,” says Kevin Snodgrass, lead trainer at fitness company Vivo. “You sit in a chair with one foot forward than the other. When you get out of the chair, the foot closest to the chair does more work.”
Why is it great? He explains: “In addition to simulating a functional movement from the real world (getting up from a sitting position), a leg that does more work during this exercise builds up a one-sided force component that builds an even balance to the left and right The offset foot position also reveals your stability, making this an effective exercise for balance and core stabilization. “
If necessary, he says, you can hold on to a door frame or a counter to build up strength. And for some exercises to avoid, don’t miss this list of the worst exercises you can do after 60.
Yes, another variation on the squat. (Remember, it’s important!) “Maintaining muscle tone and improving balance are critical to preventing injuries and falls in old age,” says Dr. Lisa Folden of Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness in Charlotte, NC. “I would argue that the most important exercise for people aged or over 60 is the single leg sit-to-stand (AKA single leg squat).”
According to Folden, “This exercise works and strengthens the glutes, which are most important for general mobility (standing, scooter riding, etc.), while at the same time dramatically improving balance. Any exercise that both makes you stronger and reduces the risk of falling is a great asset to us as we get older. “
“I love this exercise,” says Tim Liu, CSCS. “It helps develop the core strength between your left and right sides, and also teaches you how to pick and pick things up properly from the floor without using your lower back. This is critical as we continue to age. “
Here he explains how to do it: “Begin the movement by placing a weight (kettle, dumbbell, or barbell) on the floor next to your side. With your chest up and your core tensed, push your hips down back and sit down until you can grab your weight with your hand. Support your core, and then travel through your legs and hips to stand upright and squeeze your glutes hard together. Invert the pattern return to starting position before doing another rep. Do all the required repetitions on one side before switching to the other. “