9 Exercises for Women Over 60: Rediscover Your Strength

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Are you struggling to find suitable exercises for women over 60?

I know from experience how frustrating it is to start exercising only to discover your body isn’t up to the task. 

So, I’ve selected the best exercise for women over 60 to help you keep your body in shape and maintain your physical activity level.

Just keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Women over 60 should include aerobic exercises, strength training activities, and flexibility exercises in their exercise regimen to maintain physical health. 
  • Walking, yoga, and dancing are excellent low-impact aerobic exercises for women over 60. 
  • Always consult your health provider about the best forms of exercise, especially if you have a chronic medical condition. 

9 Best Workouts for Women Over 60

Before I share my top 7 exercises for women over 60, l want to tell you my story. 

My doctor recommended an exercise routine when I started having health problems after menopause due to weight gain. I was a couch potato, so I was a bit intimidated. 

I talked to several fitness instructors, and they explained that the best exercises for a woman my age should combine aerobics, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Among their recommendations were “back strengthening exercises for seniors” which were particularly beneficial for me.

So, I’m here to share my favorite exercises for women over 60. However, before you include them in your exercise program, consult your doctor, especially if you have a chronic condition. 

#1 Walking

Many people don’t consider walking a form of exercise. But walking is an excellent aerobic activity that can improve your heart health, boost your mood, and lower your blood pressure. 

group of seniors walking as their daily exercise

It’s the perfect activity for women over 60 that have never exercised before because it’s easy and allows you to build your endurance slowly and improve flexibility. And you’re not likely to get injured.

As specialists from Mayo Clinic explain,

“The faster, farther, and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.” (1)

You should aim for five 30-minute walks per week. Use an app or a fitness tracker to track your steps per day so that you can increase the distance and the duration.

But make sure you have suitable shoes that support your ankles and cushion your feet to reduce the risk of falls. And if you’re anxious about walking alone, you can ask a friend to accompany you.  

#2 Yoga

Yoga poses are an excellent choice for women over 60 because they allow you to stretch your muscles, improve your range of motion, and increase blood flow. 

woman over 60 doing yoga

Moreover, yoga is beneficial for your cardiovascular health because it can reduce stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, according to Dr. Helene Glassberg. (2)

Studies also show that yoga is safe for seniors and has a minimal injury risk when delivered by professional yoga instructions. (3) Besides yoga, aerobic exercises for seniors and seated back exercises can also be great options for maintaining flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health.

When I started doing yoga, I thought, “I’m never going to get my body to bend in this way.” But it turned out to be quite enjoyable to challenge myself.

My advice is to find a good yoga instructor that can help you master the essentials before you try exercising by yourself. 

#3 Water Aerobics

Swimming and water aerobics are great for women over 60 with joint pain. It lessens the stress on your bones and muscles, allowing you to move freely and improve your flexibility. 

woman doing water aerobics

And while it seems easy, swimming is perfect for building muscle strength because of the water resistance. It also allows you to work all body muscles without the risk of a serious injury. 

However, you should consult your doctor before you enroll in a water aerobics class if you have a heart condition or a chronic disease. 

While swimming can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, cold or hot water can affect your heart rhythm. 

#4 Push-Ups 

Push-ups are an upper body strength training exercise that targets all the muscles you use in your daily activities. You can do them anywhere, anytime, without special equipment. 

Moreover, push-ups can help you improve your stability and build your core strength. That’s what makes them the perfect choice for women over 60. 

 The easiest form for seniors is wall push-ups. Here’s how to do it.

  • Stand arm’s length from a wall with your feet flat on the ground and slightly apart.
  • Place your hands on the wall a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  • Bend your elbows to lower your head and chest as close to the wall as possible without touching it.  
  • Return to the starting position by straightening your arms. 
  • Repeat. 

You can watch this video for a demonstration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB0egDzsu18

#5 Step-Ups 

Step-up is an easy exercise for women over 60 that you can modify to match your activity level. It’s great for improving balance and strengthening your leg muscles and core. 

Unlike other balance exercises, it also carries a low risk of injury and doesn’t put too much pressure on your knees. And all you need is an elevated surface, such as a bench:

  • Stand in front of a plyometric box or a bench. It should be at a knee-high level.
  • Put your right foot on the bench and push to lift your body on the bench. 
  • Step down from the bench with your left leg. 
  • Repeat the exercise by starting with your left foot.
  • You can carry light weights to make the step-ups more challenging and gain strength.

#6  Squats

Squats are ideal for reducing body weight, strengthening core muscles, and decreasing injury risk. And squats exercise all the major muscles you need in everyday activities. 

Here’s how to do a proper squat:

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward. 
  • Put your hands on your tights. 
  • Bend your knees until your elbows meet your knees. Keep your chest upright and your head up. 
  • Hold the position for five seconds.
  • Press on your heels and get up slowly. 
  • You must keep your spine in a neutral position during the squat to avoid back problems. 
  • Watch this video for a demonstration. https://youtu.be/aPYCiuiB4PA

#7 Leg Presses

If you go to a gym, a leg press machine is an excellent form of exercise, especially if you want to maintain body mass.

According to studies, one year of resistance training leads to significant strength change in elderly women. And it can reduce the risk of injuries due to weak bones. (4)  

Leg presses can also strengthen core muscles and joints, improve stability, and enhance physical performance. 

If you don’t know how to use a leg press machine, ask a trainer or watch this short video. 

#8 Chest Presses

Do you want to strengthen your chest muscles because you have problems lifting heavy grocery bags? Then you should try chest presses at your local gym. 

It’s a suitable exercise for women over 60 because it helps you build upper body strength without any significant risk of injury. And it’s great for burning fat and calories.

Watch this video to see how to use a chest machine.

#9 Dancing 

Don’t worry if you’re not fond of squats, push-ups, and other typical forms of exercise. You can still stay fit by enrolling in dancing classes.

Dancing can be a low-impact or high-impact exercise which targets all major body muscles. It’s beneficial for your heart, blood pressure, and weight. 

Moreover, dancing is fun and an excellent way for women over 60 to socialize, improve their mental health, and reduce stress. 

And now, let’s talk about why it’s so important for women over 60 to exercise. 

Health Benefits of Exercise for Women Over 60

I’ve already mentioned the most important benefits of exercise for women over 60 – better heart health, stronger muscles, and less stress.

seniors exercising

But exercise is also great for: 

  • Preventing bone loss in elderly women 
  • Improving range of motion
  • Increasing flexibility and balance
  • Reducing the risk of injury and falls
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems
  • Lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels 
  • Socializing
  • Dealing with depression, anxiety, and stress

However, is there an exercise women over 60 should avoid? Let’s find out! 

What Exercises Should Women Over 60 Avoid?

Most exercises are suitable for senior women, or you can modify them to suit your needs. But what you shouldn’t do depends on your overall physical health. 

If you have a heart condition, you should avoid high-intensity interval training, while women with joint problems should avoid jumping rope or running. 

Rock climbing, headstands, and burpees are also not the best choices if you’re over 60. 

FAQs

1. What should cardio fitness be for a 60-year-old woman?

A 60-old woman should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as walking or running. 

2. Is jogging good for a 60-year-old woman?

Jogging is an excellent exercise for women over 60 because it boosts the cardiovascular system, increases endurance, and lowers blood pressure. 

3. Can a woman over 60 build muscle?

A woman in her 60s can build muscles through cardio and strength training, but it will take longer than a younger woman. 

Conclusion

Women over 60 can enjoy a wide variety of activities and exercises that are beneficial for the heart, lungs, and muscles. And even a few minutes of exercise per day can reduce the risk of disease. 

Still, you should consult your doctor about suitable exercises because the wrong activities can put you at risk of injury or make an existing medical condition worse.

What do you think about these 9 exercises for women over 60? Which one is your favorite? Share your opinion in the comment section. 

Resources:

1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Walk your way to fitness [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2021. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261

2. How Yoga Benefits the Heart – Penn Medicine [Internet]. www.pennmedicine.org. Available from: https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/heart-and-vascular-blog/2016/march/how-yoga-benefits-the-heart

3. Östh J, Diwan V, Jirwe M, Diwan V, Choudhary A, Mahadik VK, et al. Effects of yoga on well-being and healthy ageing: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial (FitForAge). BMJ Open [Internet]. 2019;9:e027386. Available from: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/5/e027386

4. Rhodes EC. Effects of one year of resistance training on the relation between muscular strength and bone density in elderly women. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2000;34:18–22.

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