Age, as they say, is really just a number – especially when it comes to your fitness. After all, if you are leading a sedentary lifestyle at the age of 27, you probably shouldn’t go to the gym and do tons and tons of highly effective burpees. At the same time, at 65 you can be ultra-fit and beat several of them. In short, with the right level of fitness – which is completely relative and varies from person to person – no exercise is 100% off-limits to you.
That said, if you’re the average person over 60, chances are your body goals require a change and your training should reflect that. You are unlikely to be chasing six pack abs – you are striving for better health and a higher quality of life. “The top priority exercises for seniors are those that help maintain bone density, muscle mass, and balance,” said Leann Poston MD, MBA, M.Ed. by Invigor Medical. Exercises she recommends include “stretches to help maintain flexibility to relieve pain and maintain flexibility” and “light weight training that can help maintain muscle mass and strength.” (If you are new to weightlifting, she advises you “start with light weights or even cans of soup and increase the weight if possible.”)
On an individual level, it is advisable to consult your doctor and experienced personal trainers in order to create a training plan that is right for you. You may learn that there are some exercises that you should either avoid or adapt to your body in some way. “Mine told me not to do Zercher squats because it was laying my ulnar nerve,” says Robert Herbst, a 63-year-old personal trainer and 19-time world champion in powerlifting. “For example, if someone has arthritic shoulders, they could still bench press with partial movements or dumbbells.”
But in general there are certain exercises that most trainers agree that anyone over 60 should think twice before doing them. Read on for what they are. And for more exercises that you should be doing, don’t miss out on the best exercises for building stronger muscles after 60, experts say.
There is nothing wrong with a senior taking a bootcamp class if he or she is exercising in himself and not causing his or her body to fatigue. Plus, they can be super fun. But experts say all of these forceful movements are not good for the typical body over 60.
“Nothing is off-limits if you don’t have problems that the activity can make worse, but if I had to list some things that aren’t great for older folks, it would be a hardcore bootcamp style class – or HIIT with a lot of jumping or even something like cardio boxing, “says Kim Evans, AFAA, ACE, USATF, Michigan coach and group teacher.” When you haven’t prepared your body to pop or hit or kick something , this can be a disaster. “
As we get older, she says, training should be done smarter, not harder. “As long as you work out all possible aspects of the workout, strength, range of motion, cardiovascular system, and include the basic movements like squats, lunges, hinges, twists, pushes, pulls, planks, you get a complete workout.” And for more reasons to exercise, don’t miss this secret side effect of exercising after 60, New Study says.
“Once you’re over 60, the risk of injury isn’t worth the reward,” says Dave Durell, MS, PTA, a former college and NFL weight coach and owner of Strength After 50. “Any exercise that puts you under the weight —Without a barrier to catch the weight so you don’t get stuck under it—[should be avoided]. ”Which exercises are suitable for this? “Examples are the barbell bench press and the barbell squat,” he says. “I recommend safer alternatives like the chest press.”
Let’s face it: crunches can be avoided at any age – and research suggests they should be. But this is especially the case with people over 60, say trainers. “While core training is important as you age, abs shouldn’t be part of your exercise routine,” said Isaac Robertson, trainer and co-founder of Total Shape. “Abdominal crunches involve repetitive curvatures of the spine that can cause spinal injuries and back pain, especially if done with the wrong shape.”
Other trainers would advise you to avoid floor exercises altogether. “When working with clients who tend to be older, I try to limit the number of floor exercises, especially in the early morning,” says Jack Craig, CPT, of Inside Bodybuilding. “With age, the flexibility of the spine deteriorates, which means that a person can find it difficult to get up from lying on the floor. Prolonged time on the floor can cause permanent injury or health problems, so it is best to avoid these types of exercise altogether if the client cannot stand up on their own. “
Fact: Your shoulders can seriously affect your quality of life in old age, and strong, healthy shoulders – with a good range of motion – are critical to getting through your day and continuing to lead an active, healthy life. And it’s just a fact that rotator cuff tear and injuries like shoulder impingement (when your tendons rub against the bone) become more common after 60.
“If you want your shoulders to stay healthy, don’t put anything on the back of your neck,” says Durrell. “Examples of this are squats with the barbell, pulldowns behind the neck / shoulder presses. I would recommend safer alternatives like pulldowns under the forward handle, machine or dumbbell shoulder presses. ”To learn more about keeping your shoulders healthy, don’t miss these shoulder moves that you should never do after 60.
“People in their senior years may want to avoid running first thing in the morning, especially if they haven’t always been runners,” said Steve Stonehouse, a USATF-certified treadmill and director of education at STRIDE. “That’s not to say you can’t train to be a runner, but waking up and running on the sidewalk without much prior experience or proper warm-up can have a big impact on your joints.”
He advises those over 60 to walk or lightly jog. “Doing this on a treadmill can also help alleviate the effects of running outdoors,” he says. And for more great workout tips, don’t miss out on the secret side effects of lifting weights for the first time, says Science.