Are you looking to incorporate HIIT workouts for seniors into your exercise routine but don’t really know where to start?
No worries, we’ve got you covered!
This guide covers in detail some of the best and easiest high-intensity workouts for elders that you should try.
We’ll start with whether HIIT is safe for seniors, then check out some great workouts to try!
Is HIIT Safe For Seniors?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding cardio exercise and interval training for older adults. For a majority of seniors, HIIT training is something for “younger lads” who can handle the intensity.
However, according to health experts, HIIT exercises can apply to even older individuals especially those who are above 50 years of age.
HIIT workout involves incorporating a series of workouts and combining them with rest periods in intervals.
High-intensity training is meant to build strength and improve cardio health something that you really could use as a senior. HIIT is completely safe for seniors especially when done right.
In as much as you want to burn as many calories as you can, the last thing you want is to push your body to more than what it can handle.
Doing so will only aggravate existing discomfort and pain. HIIT training involves working between 80 to 95 percent of the maximum heart rate.
High-intensity interval training is great for seniors since there is the convenience of burning calories and building muscle strength in the long run.
When it comes to high-intensity interval training, always talk to your doctor to determine if it’s safe for you.
However, various studies have concluded that HIIIT workout is safe for seniors with diabetes and even heart diseases.
4 HIIT Workouts For Seniors
Now that we’ve already established that interval training is safe for you, what are some of the HIIT workouts for seniors that you can try for calorie burning and weight loss? Let’s find out!
1. The Treadmill
The treadmill is the best exercise equipment when it comes to any intense exercise routine and that includes HIIT training.
This is because you can control the intensity, speed as well as incline which makes it one of the best for aerobic fitness. With a treadmill, you can also stop the machine whenever you feel like you need to rest.
How to do it
Before you step on the treadmill, to minimize your risk of injury you need to warm up first. A 5-minute slow walk or jog will do. You could either do it outside or on the treadmill before you start your routine.
As for the actual treadmill exercise you want to work in intervals of 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 90 seconds of walking on the treadmill.
Do four to six repetitions before you cool down with five minutes of walking on the treadmill.
When it comes to a treadmill high-intensity workout, this is the standard structure. You can however adjust the speed, timing as well as incline when you sprint to match your level of fitness.
Again, it’s not a competition, so don’t feel the need to push yourself too much if you are not that fit. You will get there eventually!
When you are starting, begin with stretching exercises whereby you target a level where you get out of breath when you are sprinting but not too much that you can’t converse with someone in the process.
As you progress, you will find that you are more motivated to reach a level where you can barely hold a conversation due to the intensity.
This is the whole idea behind the treadmill HIIT routine. It’s fun compared to running on a trail, and you are more motivated to keep going and pushing yourself until you reach your fitness goals.
As you progress and reach a certain fitness level on your treadmill workout, you can gradually increase the incline or the speed so that your body can keep progressing as the weeks go by.
When you are starting, you can do it at least once a week and then progress to two to three times a week. As you progress, don’t forget to keeps tabs on how the body feels and adjust your workout according to that.
Cycling is another great high-intensity interval training for seniors. If you have a bike, there is no reason why you shouldn’t get a few hours of workout every week.
Just like a treadmill workout, cycling makes it possible to work out in a controlled environment. Cycling is great because you not only burn calories, but it can help increase muscle mass while strengthening your legs.
How to do it
Before you get on the saddle and start peddling, you need to prepare your body for the workout ahead. And how do you do that? 5 minutes of low impact warm-up whereby you can cycle lightly around the block.
When you start cycling, you want to target 20 seconds of maximum intensity cycling followed by 90 seconds of cycling lightly. Repeat the routine four to six times before cooling down.
The cooldown time should consist of about 2 light cycling minutes and 2 minutes of off-the-saddle walking.
Just like with a treadmill HIIT session, feel free to adjust the intensity as well as resistance to fit your level of fitness. The idea is to get your heart rate up and then follow that up with a light workout.
As the weeks go by and your body adjusts to the routine, increase the resistance and intensity. You could even add more intervals to build endurance and improve stamina.
3. Speed Walking
Speed walking is the perfect HIIT for older adults who want to incorporate Tabata workout into their exercise routine.
It’s a great way to lose weight through cardio exercise. Speed walking involves short bursts of fast walking to help burn fat.
The intervals are timed to ensure that you don’t tire yourself too much. Each speed walking burst is followed by a recovery period and it is one of the best ways of improving your fitness level as you burn calories.
Ideally, speed walking makes for a great transition to more intense workouts like running and jogging.
How to do it
With speed walking, you want to start with a warm-up session of 5 minutes. That should involve light walking as you gradually increase the pace. You can then go ahead and begin the first interval. This should involve 30 seconds of fast walking.
When you are doing so, your arms should be bent and you should pump them back and forth. Your breath will deepen as the intensity increases.
The resting period should be about 2 minutes and 30 seconds and should involve moderate walking. Repeat the intervals 4 or 5 times and then finish off with 5 minutes of cooldown time.
As you progress, you can adjust the intervals as well as the pace to fit your fitness level.
Indoor rowing is a great HIIT training for seniors that should get your heart rate up and help you burn calories. It’s also a great way of building endurance and muscle especially as you get older.
How to do it
Start with a 10-minute warm-up session that should involve light rowing at a pace you are comfortable with. You can set your screen to display the calories.
Once you are warmed up follow up with 30 seconds of ‘sprint’ at maximum effort to burn as many calories as possible before resting for 90 seconds. Repeat the intervals four to six times.
As you progress in the following weeks, adjust the intervals as well as the time for each interval.
As we have established, HIIT training is not for younger people only. In fact, you might need to do more HIIT and strength training exercises now that you are older.
Such exercises help you burn calories, build strength as well as endurance. There is an endless list of Tabata training for seniors that you can try.
The only thing you need to make sure of is that you don’t push yourself past your fitness level. As you progress and get fitter, you can adjust the intervals to burn more calories and move closer to your fitness goals.