If you’ve never made exercise a part of your lifestyle or you’ve simply taken a break from scheduled physical activity and feel sluggish about reintroducing it, you may think that 65 is too late to adopt a fitness routine. Not so! Exercise is extremely important during your mid-to-late 60s and into your 70s.
“It improves strength, flexibility, and posture, which helps with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls,” says Julie Diamond, Los Angeles-based fitness trainer and owner of Julie Diamond Fitness.
Naturally, you need to approach an exercise routine sensibly in your 60s and 70s. “The goal at this stage is health and well-being. It’s important to start slow,” says Diamond. First, schedule a physical exam with your doctor to access your fitness level. She’ll be able to not only give you the go-ahead to step up your exercise, but she also can address any current health conditions you have and make adequate fitness recommendations.
You need to approach an exercise routine sensibly in your 60s and 70s. The goal at this stage is health and well-being.
Then, pay attention to your warm up. This can include swinging your arms or marching in place — any slow, steady movements that will help muscles fire. Diamond recommends focusing on a mix of aerobics, strength training, and balance work. “Choose a moderate aerobic exercise to do for 15 to 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week,” she says, noting that “moderate” aerobics include swimming, brisk walking, biking, rowing, elliptical training, and dancing. “Anything that avoids a lot of impact on the joints,” Diamond explains.
For strength exercises, use light free weights (3 to 5 pounds is a good starting point) or resistance bands two to three times a week. If you feel out of shape and find that your strength-training sessions are taking longer than 20 minutes, Diamond says, “break these down to 10-minute intervals a couple times a day.”
The final part of the 65-and-fierce equation: balance work. “It enhances mobility, flexibility, and, of course, balance!” says Diamond. Work on balance daily (think: yoga, tai chi, or even simply standing on one foot); it may seem like a simple part of your exercise regimen to skip, but Diamond swears it makes all the difference.
Not sure where to start? We partnered with trainer Julie Diamond on a series of easy but effective workout moves to target the whole body. If you’re just beginning to work out, we think you’ll love them.