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4 HIIT Workouts For Seniors That Prove It’s Really Possible

Written by Liliane
Last Updated :
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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?

Senior athletes doing hiit workouts on step platforms at gym

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 interval rest periods.

High-intensity training (HIIT) is meant to build strength and improve cardio health, which is something that you could really use as a senior. HIIT is completely safe for seniors, especially when done right. 

As much as you want to burn as many calories as possible, the last thing you want is to push your body to the limit.

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 because it allows them to burn calories and build 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. 

Here are some inspiring fitness quotes to keep you moving!

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

a man using a treadmill as his hiit workout

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

To minimize your risk of injury, you need to warm up before you step on the treadmill. 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. 

This is the standard structure for a treadmill high-intensity workout. However, you can adjust the speed, timing, and 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, targeting 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 start, you can do it at least once a week and then progress to two to three times a week. As you progress, remember to keep tabs on how your body feels and adjust your workout accordingly. 

2. Cycling

man using an exercise bike at the gym for hiit workout for seniors

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 getting on the saddle and peddling, you must 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 follow 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

man speed walking on treadmill for HIIT workout in the morning

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 5-minute warm-up session. That should involve light walking as you gradually increase the pace. You can then go ahead and begin the first interval, which 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.  

4. Rowing

muscular man and sporty woman doing rowing hiit workouts on training simulator in crossfit gym

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. 

Do you think HIIT workouts for seniors are possible? Read this guide to answer that question plus check out 4 great workouts to try!

What do you think of HIIT workouts for seniors? Have you tried it? Share your experience below!

About Author

Lilian Wamaitha is a passionate writer and avid cyclist with over 4 years of experience in blogging. As a lifelong learner, she is driven by her curiosity to discover and learn new things. This curiosity and passion eventually sparked a love for the senior writing niche. She has written countless articles to help seniors find their footing in this world through healthy and holistic living. She’s passionate about seeing the seniors in society live a more fulfilling life to the end. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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