If we had to “brand” an overly simplified training philosophy for people over 60, we would probably go for something like “The WWY Life”.
To put it in a nutshell, “WWY” would be short for “Weights, Walking, and Yoga”. Why should older people prioritize these forms of fitness? Well, although cardio at any age is great to participate in – and any exercise is good exercise – as you get older, your fitness goals become more focused on achieving strength, better balance, and flexibility.
“Weights build and maintain lean muscle for strong bones and metabolism, while yoga and walking reduce stress and cortisol levels,” while also keeping your fat burning high and helping your balance and flexibility, says Paula Thomas, a NASM-certified personal trainer at Les Mills. “Too much cardio puts a strain on our bodies and can drive our appetites out of control.”
While this seems simple enough – lift weights, walk a lot, do yoga – we all know that when it comes to fitness, it’s always easier said than done.
Sometimes you just don’t feel it. Sometimes you have a busy schedule that doesn’t allow for training. Sometimes you’re down on yourself and the gym can be way too intimidating. We are all human and therefore you need to be kind to yourself if you feel you are missing your goals.
In any case, if you’re looking to get into tip-top shape at your age 60 or over, chances are you could use a little help. With this in mind, we asked numerous trainers and doctors for their tips on how to keep motivation high and get the most out of your endeavors to stay fit. Read on for their answers. And for some exercises to avoid, don’t miss this list of the worst exercises you can do after 60.
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Health and nutrition expert Traci D. Mitchell, MA, MS, says the key to getting and staying in shape is understanding your personal reward system. “I ask my clients how they plan to reward themselves after a week of good food, or after a hard workout, or even after losing 10 pounds. What’s the plan? ”She says. “People generally have no problem following a healthy eating plan or exercising for a week to keep themselves fit. But not everyone ponders the behaviors or patterns they fall back into after a week of being successful . “
Say you lost a few pounds. Mitchell asks, “Are you saying, ‘I’ve been working, I’ve been working so hard, I deserve a big dinner and drinks tonight ?!’ Or do you say, ‘I’ve worked so hard, I deserve a better pair of running shoes to keep the momentum going ?!’ “
If you’re the latter, your chances of being in shape are much higher. “When you’re over 60, it’s a challenge to burn the candle on both ends,” she says. “Giving in to an unhealthy reward system is much harder than it is for someone 30 years younger.” And for more great workout tips, don’t miss out on the secret mental trick to getting a lean body, experts say.
Michelle Davies, a certified life coach who works with many women in their 60s, suggests starting your day with “gratitude, prayer, or meditation.” “Ten minutes of silent reflection before you start your day can have a huge impact on your mood in the long run,” she says. “Regardless of religion or spiritual belief, everyone can benefit from a few quiet moments in which to put themselves in a positive attitude.”
There is a lot of scientific evidence to support the benefits of meditation in particular. A new study published in IOS Press found that 12 minutes of daily meditation resulted in “increased gray matter volume” in the brain, “upregulation of immune function”, “increased cerebral blood flow to key areas of the brain” and “increased synaptic function.” ” in the brain. It has also been linked to “less stress”, “better sleep”, “less inflammation”, “increased well-being”, “reversal of memory loss”, “improved executive function” and “better mood with less anxiety and depression”. “
Something Thomas does himself to stick to her fitness goals? “I take my daily to-do list and cut it in half,” she says. “This doesn’t make my workload too big. When I am overwhelmed with laundry, dishes and other things, I break them down into manageable parts. I tell myself, I just fold 10 objects or do 10 dishes or something that gets me going and I’m usually more motivated when I get over the laziness. Sometimes setting a timer works for other tasks! “
If you want to do something instead of having to do it, chances are you actually will – and it all starts with creating an exercise program that isn’t overwhelming.
“By creating a daily program of consistent and workable exercise routines that aren’t too harsh, won’t hurt, and increase mobility and flexibility, and improve your overall prospects, you will begin to break away from thinking about having to exercise to the point of wanting.” To exercise, “says Len Glassman, a fitness professional, author, and master-level nutritionist. “You will look forward to experiencing these positive and personally rewarding physical and emotional traits until you see it no longer as a choice but as a necessary and important part of your day, like brushing your teeth and washing your hands.”
“One perspective that my clients have found helpful is to think about it: at any point in time you are either getting weaker or stronger,” says Matt Hsu, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Pain Expert and Movement Coach at Boostcamp. “If you choose not to do anything and sit on the couch, you get weaker. If you choose to exercise and exercise, you will get stronger (provided you do your exercises well). As we age, the rate at which we become weaker accelerates. So it becomes more and more important to choose to get stronger on a regular basis. “
It’s just a fact that “exercise” isn’t just limited to the things you do in the gym or activities you do with wick-away compression garments. Every move is a good move.
“An important trick to staying in shape after 60 is to maintain an overall high level of activity,” says Robert Herbst, a 63-year-old personal trainer and 19-time world champion in powerlifting. “If you were busy visiting kids, shopping, doing household chores, exercising on weekends, and living a normal life in your 40s and 50s, you’ll be doing 30 minutes of aqua aerobics just twice a week after 60 form.”
While the kids are away and you’ve downsized, he says, “you need to develop active hobbies and a busy routine to keep your basic shape elevated.”
That means walking, gardening, playing golf, mowing the lawn, dancing and playing with your children or grandchildren. If you’re interested in some great hiking tips, don’t miss the 4 walking workouts to help you get lean, says Top Trainer.
If you are into strength training, the leading experts recommend that you do fewer exercises that serve no functional purpose (such as biceps curls or crunches). “Exercise routines should be built around functional movements – the physical activities that you normally do in your daily life,” says Glassman. “It doesn’t have to be complicated. Functional movements are pushing and pulling, sitting and standing, bending over and lifting. “
That means more squats, pushups, pullups, deadlifts and planks, and other core functional exercises. These are the steps that experts say will make you a more active, healthier person. For more core exercises to do, don’t miss out on the best abs exercises to do after 60, says Trainer.