Exercise DOs and DON’Ts for the over 60s
DO make a plan - Your muscles, bones and joints need to be looked after more and more as you get older. This can take careful planning and some research. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor or a qualified trainer for guidance to help build an exercise plan that’s right for you.
DON’T do what you did when you were younger - The frequency, intensity and goals of your exercise routine will need to adapt as you get older. Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been exercising all your life, you’ll need to adjust your approach to exercise, both physically and mentally.
DO start out lightly - It’s better to start off slowly and build from there than to risk injury by doing too much too soon. If you’ve been exercising for many years, you should be able to cope with more than a beginner, so there’s not a one-size-fits-all plan and it could take some time to find the right level.
DON’T skip leg day - Leg and core exercises can feel daunting, especially if you've fallen or you’re worried about falling, but strengthening your legs and core will help make you feel more stable and confident on your feet. You just need to do it in a way that’s safe and comfortable.
DO use weights - Resistance-based exercise and weightlifting can help you build and maintain muscle mass. In some cases, it can slow the rate of muscle loss and help preserve strength, as well as help you feel more independent.
DON’T go too heavy - Lifting heavy weights can be dangerous at any age. But as we get older, muscles won’t be as strong or flexible as they once were and they’re not able to regenerate as quickly. Consider lighter weights and resistance bands – particularly when you’re starting out or returning from injury, and don’t forget the importance of good form.
DO look after your joints - Running and road cycling are great cardiovascular exercises, but they’re high impact and can put pressure on your joints. As you get older, the best approach is to look after joints by switching to lower impact activities like swimming or cycling on a stationary bike.
DON’T ignore aches and pains - Listen to your body. If you’re feeling drained, don’t try and do too much, or if a particular part of the body is feeling sore, give it a rest. And, if pain or discomfort persists, make sure you see your GP.
DO warm up and stretch - Make sure you warm up before exercise to avoid muscle tears and joint pain. This should involve movement to get the blood pumping. It’s important not to stretch cold muscles – instead, save stretching until after you’ve exercised.
DON’T do nothing - The body needs time to recover and recharge, so you should take days off from moderate and/or intense physical exercise. But on those days, you should still make sure you move. Try and do light activity like walking, housework, or simply getting up and moving around regularly.
> See what exercises you can try, from yoga to cycling.