If you’re over 60 and you’re looking to get fit, lean, and live a longer life, we highly recommend that you incorporate at least two days of strength training into your routine every single week. I’m talking about doing squats, using bands, swinging kettlebells, and doing pushups, etc.—all terrific exercises that will help you gain better strength, balance, and mobility into old age. Do them regularly, slowly increasing your intensity and reps, and you’ll put yourself on the path to a longer and more active life. But at the same time, you shouldn’t neglect performing some good-old fashioned cardio.
After all, if you’re older, you’ll find that performing regular cardio does more than just strengthen your heart and your conditioning. It helps your mental health and will keep you feeling sharp, energetic, and even younger, all throughout your days.
The folks at the CDC recommend that perform roughly 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week (such as 30 minutes/day, 5 days a week), or 75 minutes of more vigorous aerobic activity. Now, if you’re newer to exercise or have found that you haven’t been exercising for some time, I’d recommend that you start with the former, and head out for brisk walks every day for at least a half-hour when you go out. (If you go out early in the morning, all the better.) If you’re ready to do some more intense cardio exercises, I’ve provided four of them below that I think are some of the absolute best for people over 60.
These are all low-impact exercises that will protect your joints and will really work your heart. Do them for the prescribed time and intensity 2-3 times per week, and you’ll feel amazing afterward. So read on, and remember: These are cardio exercises, so the goal is to raise your heart rate and really break a sweat. And for some exercises to avoid, don’t miss this list of The Worst Exercises You Can Do After 60.
Newsflash: You don’t need to be a 255-pound NFL lineman to reap the benefits of this great exercise. The sled push is an amazing way to build up your conditioning and get your heart pumping. Consider it an added bonus that it also helps you build power and strength. Also, if you’re someone who finds treadmills, rowing machines, ellipticals, and stationary bikes entirely too monotonous and boring, this could be the right exercise for you.
If you have access to a sled, start by loading it with a light weight (single 45 lb if only one slot, 2×25 lbs if you have two). If you’re new to the exercise, grip it high on the handles and with your arms extended. Push the sled down 20-40 yards one way, then back down, with your body 45-degrees to the bars. Keep your eyes on the ground as you push. Rest 2-5 minutes before performing another set. Aim for 3-5 sets. And for more great exercise advice, don’t miss The Secret Mental Trick for Getting a Lean Body, Say Experts.
Begin by warming up at a slower pace for 2 minutes to get the muscles going. Once you’re warmed up, pick up the speed for 30-45 seconds, then slow it down for 45 seconds, and repeat until you’ve climbed for 15-20 minutes. As you continue to get more conditioned, you can increase the total time of this workout. If you think this exercise is “easy,” you’ve got another thing coming!
Begin by setting the treadmill on an incline (start with 5 degrees) and at least 2.5-3.0mph. Walk at this pace for 15-20 minutes, and build yourself up to either a higher incline or faster pace. And if you love to walk, don’t miss The 4 Walking Workouts That Will Help You Get Lean, Says Top Trainer.
Hop on your favorite exercise bike (stationary, recumbent, air) and set a timer for 30 minutes. If you’re a little de-conditioned and haven’t done cardio in a while, you can ride at a pace that you can maintain during the entire time. However, if you want to push yourself a bit more, you can incorporate some interval training in your workout.
Alternate between sprinting hard for 20-30 seconds and then cruising at a steady pace for a minute. Perform as many intervals as you can in 30 minutes. And if walking is your favorite form of exercise, don’t miss The Secret Cult Walking Shoe That Walkers Everywhere Are Totally Obsessed With.