Getting older used to mean inevitable physical weakness and inactivity. However, new research shows that we can stay healthy, fit and get stronger as we get older. Getting in shape at 60 makes you feel and look good and helps you avoid age-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and injury from falls.
What To Do For Over 60 Fitness?
First of all, you need to defy the old stereotyped thinking. Being an elderly doesn’t mean that you limit yourself to golf and light gardening. For getting in shape at 60 and staying healthy even after 60, do a variety of exercises including strength training, weight lifting, cycling and tai chi. Here are some ideas for getting fit after 60 that are fairly safe. Adopt these ideas to increase your physical stamina, mental clarity, stay more active, live life with energy, vigor and for fitness after 60.
Balance And Flexibility Exercises After 60
Good balance and flexibility in old age decrease the risk of falls and make tasks that involve reaching easier. Especially, flexibility of the large muscles on the top and back of the legs between the knees and hips (quadriceps and hamstrings), and mobility of the hip joints improve your ability to balance when you are standing still (static balance), and strength in the lumbar spine contribute to balancing when you move (dynamic balance).
Here Are Simple Ways To Improve Balance And Flexibility In Old Age
(i) For improving balance, stand on one leg or walk heel-to-toe. See this video:
(ii) To work on flexibility, gently stretch a muscle group such as your calves or shoulders as far as you can without pain, and hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
(iii) To improve balance and stability, stretch regularly whether you exercise or not. Stretching not only helps to keep keep you fit and flexible, but it also increases blood circulation required for being aware and alert (cognition), which can also help guard against falls.
(a) If you workout, you are likely to find it easier to stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warm.
(b) The lower-body strength-training exercises work to improve your balance.
(iv) Other alternatives are tai chi, yoga or Pilates to help you keep limber and retain good balance.
Endurance Exercises Over 60
Endurance exercise is one of the four types of exercises along with strength, balance and flexibility. Preferably, all four types of exercises should be incorporated in a healthy workout routine. Also called as aerobic exercise, endurance exercise keeps your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improves your overall fitness. Consequently, they delay or prevent the life style diseases that are common in older adults like diabetes and heart disease. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out your everyday activities.
Following are examples of endurance exercises that help keep your heart and lungs in shape:
(i) Walking briskly
(ii) Running / jogging
(vi) Climbing stairs or hills
(vii) Playing sports such as tennis, basketball, soccer or racquetball
Total Fitness Tip: Try to perform at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance activity at least on 4-5 days a week.
Strength Training / Weight Lifting Exercises After 60
After age 40, men experience a continuing depletion in testosterone levels that leads to loss of muscle mass and bone density. Regular strength training is an effective way to slow down the muscle and bone mass loss. In addition, they reduce the risk of life style diseases and minimize the rate of decline in metabolism. Read here for Weight Training For Seniors.
Elderly men have options to perform strength training with exercise machines, resistance bands, light free weights in gym. On the other hand, exercises like push-ups; pull-ups, side leg raises and knee curls are some options for working out at home without using weights.
Aim for 2-3 “45-minute strength-training sessions” in a week. However, never work the same muscle group two days in a row.
Before you start any new exercise routine, speak to a healthcare provider about the kinds and intensity of exercise suitable for you. Senior persons are more sensitive to cold and heat and less likely to notice thirst, thus they must take care to wear clothes according to the prevailing weather and keep themselves hydrated. If you feel any chest pain or pressure, uncomfortable breathing, lightheadedness or nausea, stop exercising and check with your doctor.
Total Fitness Tip: You don’t need to do all the four types of the exercises (Balance, Flexibility, Endurance and Strength training) every day. Keep varying them to keep you fit and healthy. This will keep your exercise routine exciting. Moreover, a mix of different types of exercises works more effectively to boost strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. (Read here my fitness story after 60)
What is your favorite way to exercise and stay strong in old age? What new surprising physical feats you perform in this stage of life? Let us know in the comments!