Staying Spry: 4 Exercises to Get You Moving in Your Golden Years

Exercise and regular physical activity is an important part of life. The most popular benefit of exercise is that it helps you to lose, maintain, and even gain weight, depending on your goals and what type of exercises you do. Regular exercise can also improve your mood and help you sleep better at night. Exercising has an endless amount of benefits, but it’s also important to know the best exercises for your goals, ability level, and your age.  

Here are four types of exercise that are best suited for those over the age of 60. 

#1: Aerobic Exercises 

Aerobic exercises are designed to increase the heart rate, which causes you to burn more calories. Examples of aerobic exercises include jogging, running, jumping rope, etc. However, when it comes to senior citizens, aerobic exercises should be more low-impact, as to not put too much stress on the joints.  

Older adults are more prone to developing osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis, so it’s important to protect the joints. Water aerobics (aerobic exercises done in a pool) is a great alternative for older adults because being in the water takes a lot of the pressure off of the joints, and the water also provides some resistance, which helps to build muscle. 

#2: Chair Yoga 

As we age, our balance and flexibility decrease greatly. Fortunately, doing yoga can help with both balance and flexibility, and the movements can be modified to suit everyone’s ability and age. While some senior citizens can participate in traditional yoga, those with severe balance issues can sit in a chair while doing yoga until their balance improves. 

Balance is a huge concern with the elderly because poor balance leads to more elder falls, which happens to approximately 33% of senior citizens each year. These falls can lead to serious injuries or even death, and improved balance can help reduce the risk of falling. Not only that, but chair yoga can also help you find relief for your knees, but if you have severe arthritis, you may need to speak to a doctor. 

#3: Hobbies that Require Movement 

Fortunately for many senior citizens (and people of all ages), there are hobbies that require a significant amount of physical activity— often without the person engaging in the activity even knowing it! An example is fishing: it takes the use of various muscles in your body to steady yourself and to be able to reel in what you’ve caught— especially if you’re standing or fishing from a boat.  

You’re also able to get some cardiovascular work and muscle-toning benefits from gardening. When doing heavy gardening, it takes a lot of strength to dig a bigger shovel into the ground, plus you’re walking around a lot as you do it. 

#4: Walking 

Walking is one of the easiest ways that anyone of any age can start doing to become more physically active. Walking is actually considered an aerobic activity, but it’s also low-impact so it isn’t hard on the joints as long as you’re wearing the proper shoes. It’s also easy to add extra walking into your daily routine, by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, opting to park farther away rather than up close, and simply by walking more around the house.  

Why Exercise is Important for Senior Citizens 

As noted before, exercising, in general, provides several benefits for one’s health. For senior citizens specifically, being physically active allows them to remain independent for a longer period of time. For those with limited mobility, they’re more likely to have to go into an assisted care facility (e.g., a nursing home), and unfortunately, those with limited mobility are more likely to face hardship. The ability to remain independent has benefits that go beyond physical well-being too. Senior citizens who are able to remain independent also tend to have better mental health than those who cannot remain independent. 


Of course, there are senior citizens who are able to do much more than what is listed here, so this is just a generalization. However, you should always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. 

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