How to Start Exercising After Age 60
As we age, healthy movement can become more and more challenging to maintain.
Over time, we may begin to wonder, “I’m too fragile to exercise… what if I break something?” Or we worry, “I have joint pain, arthritis, and back pain… won’t exercise only make that worse?”
The good news is, you don’t need to worry. Our lead instructor and expert personal trainers, Meredith Black, recently busted these exercise myths for older adults in this article and explained how adults over 60 can still start exercising and reaping the benefits of this healthy movement habit.
In fact, recent exercise guidelines for older adults outline two distinct pathways of the aging process based on either the presence or absence of physical activity. Ask yourself, which one would you prefer?
Unhealthy aging is associated with early and excessive appearance of chronic diseases, such as diminished muscular function, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, mental health problems, and increased end of life morbidity. In this instance, physical activity is used as therapy after a disease process has already begun.
Healthy aging is characterized by the maintenance of functional ability into old age, where morbidity (suffering from a disease) is decreased and compressed toward the end of life. In healthy aging, physical activity and exercise are used to promote and maintain health, fitness, independence, and longevity.
We don’t know about you, but it sounds like a pretty clear choice. For adults over 60 who are ready to stop waiting and start moving, here are the top considerations you need to know to formulate the best exercise plan, start off strong, and effectively ensure a healthy aging process.
First things first—Make a Plan
Starting a new exercise routine can already be tough. Getting started at an older age can be even tougher. To start off effectively, it’s best to have a comprehensive plan.
Safety First—Seek any medical clearance you might need. Take time to chat with your medical doctors, physical therapists, or other health professionals to be sure there are no reasons to hold you back from a new fitness routine.
Mark Your Calendar—Start to carve out time to get active. We’re not just talking days of the week, we’re talking hours of the day! Start by choosing 1 hour of your day where you know you can be successful in knocking out a good sweat.
Be Accountable—Tell your friends, family, and neighbors about your fitness plan. Having a few people in your corner to help cheer you on can make a huge difference.
It doesn’t take much equipment to get moving, but here are a few items to check-off your list:
- Comfortable athletic shoes
- Loose comfortable clothing
- A water bottle to stay hydrated
If you are looking for items for strength training, look no further than your existing household items. Some strength training equipment hacks may include:
- A bookbag weighted with books
- Canned foods or large water jugs
- A loaded tote bag
If you are also looking for an easy starter kit with versatile training equipment, try a set of loop bands or resistance bands. These are inexpensive and highly effective to train with while working on both strength and mobility.
Now that you’re prepared—Start Strong
To start, we recommend picking an exercise activity you enjoy doing. If you had any choice, what would be your go-to physical activity?
Walking, hiking, sports, or cycling are some simple suggested activities that will also get you outdoors. Being outside also offers exposure to natural stimuli that have their own health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, reduced stress-hormone levels, improved mood, and reduced inflammation.
Once you have a good baseline routine with a favorite activity, start to fill in other forms of exercise around that. New recommendations for older adults have been outlined to cover the following areas of movement. These are detailed in this article and also summarized below:
- Aerobic Training 3-7 days per week, for 20-60 minutes
- Strength Training 2-3 days per week, for 1-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions
- Balance Training 1-7 days per week, for 1-2 sets of 4-10 exercises
Last, but not least—Seek Help Where You Need It
Sometimes we need a little extra bit of help to get us on the right track. The good news is, there are plenty of options to help facilitate this if and when needed…
A physical therapist can be a game-changer when getting active. We may have nagging pain or injuries that discourage us from being active. With the help of a skilled physical therapist, you can recover from pain and strengthen your body to stay on top of your game. MovementX has expert physical therapists around the country who are ready to help you move your best so you can live your best. Click here to schedule a consultation or session today.
A Personal Trainer can help you create a personalized workout plan, hold you accountable to your goals, and help troubleshoot roadblocks along the way. MovementX also offers great personal training services, both in-person and virtually.
A Workout Community can help bring together like-minded individuals with specific goals around movement. That’s why our team created AgeProof Your Body, a specialized online exercise community for anyone 60+ who wants to stay active and mobile, improve their strength and balance, or regain their physical freedom—all from the safety of their own homes. Check it out! More information is listed below.
Starting a new exercise routine at any age doesn’t have to be complicated—and it is never too late to start! Remember, being active is one of the most important tools we have for a long and independent life. Staying steady on the active lifestyle pathway will keep you in your best health for years to come.
Are you interested in learning more about AgeProof Your Body? Check out our website or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have before becoming a member.
Did you know that anyone can join the APYB community with the first month FREE? Join today using the coupon code ‘MXFamily’ (case sensitive) when signing up.
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Move Well. Live Well.