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Tips and Tricks for Staying Fit After 60

If you don’t use it, you lose it, and this adage couldn’t be more applicable when it comes to senior fitness. In my years of experience working with dozens of older adults, the universal key I’ve learned is everyone can push a little harder, go a little further, and dream a little bigger with each passing day.

There are some key tricks in making this happen in the golden years. 

Exercise Tricks

  1. Be Consistent 

    •  It’s normal to be sore after those first few workouts or after doing something different in your exercise routine. Don’t let this scare you. While there’s a fine line between post-exercise soreness and pain that warrants a step back, avoid the trap of tapering off due to a fear of becoming injured when you’re experiencing adaptations that’ll improve quality of life. 
  2. Listen to your Body

    • While you don’t want to let a little soreness scare you off, know your limits. When in doubt, schedule a consultation with your physician.
  3. Add Strength Training to your Workout Routine 

    • Especially for ladies, don’t overlook strength training. Tools like dumbbells and resistance bands not only establish a good foundation, but weight-bearing exercise stresses the bones and induces an increase in bone density.
  4. Invest in Fitness Gloves 

    • Fitness gloves aren’t just for bodybuilders. They do wonders in improving comfort when lifting, especially if issues like arthritis and carpal tunnel get you down. 
  5. Consider Getting a Personal Trainer 

    • If you’re unsure of your limitations, form, or use of equipment, it can be well worth the investment in a few personal training sessions. While personal training typically costs more than group fitness instruction, you’ll receive professional, custom guidance to make every workout thereafter more effective. Some fitness facilities even offer free weight room orientations for members, so it’s never a bad idea to see if that’s an option. 
  6. Work Antagonist Muscle Groups through Supersets

    • Antagonist muscle pairs like biceps and triceps oppose each other. When one contracts, the other relaxes, and management of this smooth operation keeps movements fluid, encourages good posture, and increases range of motion. 
  7. Go Swimming

    • If you’ve just suffered an injury, have mobility issues, or are just getting back into the world of fitness, jump in the pool. This low-impact option allows for cardio and strength training alike all while having some fun in the water. 

Lifestyle Tricks

  1. Get Enough Sleep Daily 

    • Don’t overlook the power of a good night’s rest, especially after a day that included resistance training. The body repairs itself while you’re sleeping, building up new muscle and strength while you dream. 
  2. Incorporate Activity through Fun Hobbies

    • Things like gardening, hiking, and playing with animals are all great ways to improve your mood and physical fitness. 
  3. Consider Buying a Fitness Watch

    • Fitness watches provide valuable information that can help you identify areas of improvement that a lifestyle change can correct. For example, tools like Fitbit provide reminders to get up and walk each hour to achieve your step goal for the day. 
  4. Buy Fresh and Nutritious Food 

    • At the grocery store, avoid the aisles as much as possible. The most healthful foods are typically found along the outer perimeter of the grocery store layout. 

Scheduling Tricks

  1. Block Off Time to Workout

    • When you want to remember to acknowledge a birthday or make it to a doctor’s appointment, you put it on your calendar. Start your week out by scheduling not only the time you’ll make it to your favorite fitness facility but also what you’ll be doing. If you’re part of a fitness class, jot it down so you remain mindful of your commitment to staying healthy. 
  2. Check if You’re Eligible for Fitness Programs

    • If money is keeping you from attending a class, check your eligibility for Silver Sneakers. Many insurance companies have picked up on the fact that regular exercise means less medical problems and will pay for you to attend. 
  3. Schedule Workouts throughout Different Times of the Day 

    • To make the most of cardio exercise, there are many benefits to working out in the morning. On the other hand, weight training is most effective in the late afternoon to early evening. Of course, if you can’t fit in your training during these times, it’s better to do them at any time than not at all, but employing this scheduling method maximizes results at any age. 

Mental Tricks to Reframe Your Attitude Toward Exercise and Nutrition

  1. Don’t Limit Yourself 

    • Don’t put limitations on your abilities. While you’ll never be in your 20’s again, you’re only as old as you feel. Achieving peak physical performance at any age starts with a can-do attitude. 
  2. Focus On the Small Steps

    • Instead of looking at a large goal, focus on the small steps that get you there. Think of it like your GPS map when you’re embarking on a lengthy trip. Sure, it’s helpful to look at the entirety of the trip, but you zoom in and take it one turn at a time. If you miss a turn, a new route is recalculated. As long as you redirect, you’ll get where you’re going. 
  3. Reward Yourself 

    • Don’t think of having your favorite foods as “cheating.” As long as you employ moderation, these foods should be seen as a reward for all your hard work. Just make sure you follow any dietary restrictions from your doctor, and don’t overindulge .

Other Tips

  1. Invest in a Music Streaming App

    • One of my best investments as a senior fitness professional has been in YouTube Premium, but you can choose among the many music platforms out there. The key is, finding an outlet where you can access uninterrupted music from any decade makes for improved physical activity through longer distances, faster pace, and more repetitions. I made a promotional video featuring my Silver Sneakers class, and every person interviewed commented on their affinity for my varied playlists. 
  2. Use Two Chairs for Stretching

    • If you’re working with folks who have trouble getting up and down from the floor, simply set another chair in front of the participant so they can easily perform stretches like toe touches. 
  3. Don’t Get Stuck in a Boring Routine

    • While it’s important to cover the basics including strength, cardio, balance, and flexibility, switching things up makes exercise fun. Go for a walk in a new area of town. Play an exercise game. Join a fitness group or seek out a workout buddy or two for accountability. 
  4. Keep the Social Component Alive

    • My classes get together at least a few times per month to do things outside of the gym, and this has done wonders in keeping a positive spirit alive within every group I’ve worked with. 

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