Over 60? These Are the Best Exercises to Lose Weight and Stay Healthy
Take charge of your health and fitness.
We all know that when it comes to losing weight and staying healthy, regularly getting your heart rate up and doing strength training are crucial. It's particularly important after age 60 when metabolism begins to slow, muscle mass starts to decline, and you might be dealing with health issues that limit your mobility. What types of exercise will give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak, after 60? Newsful talked with experts who gave us the nine best exercises for losing weight and staying healthy at this time of life.
"People over the age of 60 need to focus on strength training and cardiovascular training every week," says Dr. Samantha Smith, a physical therapist and knee replacement specialist. "According to the American College of Sports Medicine, cardiovascular training should be completed five times a week and strength training should be completed 2 to 3 times per week."
"The squat is one of the best exercises to do over the age of 60, because it works the whole leg from the hip to the foot," says Smith. She recommends starting with the "stand-up, sit-down": Start with standing up from a sturdy chair, using the least amount of assistance possible. Once that becomes easy, you can hold a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell to increase intensity. That will help build muscle. "As we age, we start to lose 1% to 3% of muscle mass every year," says Smith. "Squats, or stand-up, sit-downs are a great way to reduce this."
"When done correctly, deadlifts are the number one lift for a person over 60," says Emily Socolinsky, SSC, a trainer with Fivex3 Training in Baltimore, Maryland. " I teach all of my older lifters how to deadlift. It's a movement we do every day of our lives. We are constantly picking things up and moving things around. The deadlift is a full-body movement and works the back, legs, shoulders and core. It can be modified to meet the person where they are in their training."
"Walking outside gives us a chance to practice walking in environments that may challenge strength and balance," says Smith. "When it's windy outside, your legs have to work a little bit harder. You may have to go up and down inclines or step over objects. Not only does walking improve cardiovascular health, it also works leg muscles and can improve balance, which changes as we age."
"Activities like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming are excellent for heart health and burning calories," says Steve Theunissen, a certified nutritionist and ISSA/IFPA certified personal trainer. "They boost endurance, help manage weight, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes."
"Yoga and tai chi are superb for enhancing balance, flexibility, and reducing the risk of falls," says Theunissen. "These low-impact activities also provide relaxation and stress reduction, which is valuable at any age."
"Strengthening the core muscles with exercises like planks or gentle Pilates can alleviate back pain, improve posture, and enhance stability," says Theunissen.
"We are constantly putting things over our heads," says Socolinsky. "Suitcases in overhead compartments, taking plates out of a cupboard. Pressing is a natural, full-body movement, working the shoulders, back, core, and legs."
"One of the best exercises people over 60 can do is aqua jogging," says Jennifer Conroyd, an ACE-certified trainer and founder of Fluid Running. "Water is 800 times denser than air, so when you're moving/jogging in the water, the resistance kicks up and gives you a really good workout. You burn up to 40% more calories running in the pool than you do on land because of all the extra resistance and muscles used. It's great for body toning and weight loss."
"Perhaps the biggest threat to our overall health is our addiction to passively sitting most of our waking hours," says Dr. Turner Osler, an emeritus professor of surgery at the University of Vermont who has done a TEDx Talk about the subject. "As we sit, propped up by ergonomic chairs with backrests, footrests, armrests, and lumbar support our posture slumps, our core muscles atrophy, and our overall health declines. Epidemiologists calculate that sitting passively shortens lives by as much as two years." His prescription: "Change our chairs in a way that makes sitting active rather than passive. Not only would we eliminate the harms of passive sitting, but we'd build core strength and metabolic health all day long." He notes that several companies make chairs that activate your core and improve your posture, including CoreChair, Mishu Swopper, and his own QOR360.