Exercise Routine for Men Over 60

Exercise Routine for Men Over 60

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Swimming can be a rewarding cardiovascular exercise for aging men.

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

An exercise routine for men over 60 does not have to be so different from one for younger men. The biggest distinction is that intensity, frequency and safety must be taken into consideration. Aging males may not recover as quickly as they did in their youth. And they have a much greater potential for injury. An effective exercise routine should combine elements of both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise, according to "You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty" by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz. By applying a few simple principles to your routine, you can get a great workout and stay in shape at any age.

Include Resistance Training

Resistance training is a critical component of an exercise routine as you age. It has the power to prevent muscle loss and frailty, speed up metabolism, improve bone density and enhance immune function. You need not engage in power lifting or hoist incredible weight to benefit from resistance training. Actually, as you age, it becomes much more important to focus on the muscles working and make every effort to prevent injuries. According to “Xtreme Lean” author Steve Holman, three 30-minute full body workouts a week is plenty for men over 60 to get the beneficial effects of resistance training.

Try Full Body Workouts

You may not be able to fully recover from the grueling workouts of his earlier years. It may not be practical or even possible to hit every muscle from multiple angles several times a week. Full body workouts allow you to get a great workout in a short time. One way to structure these workouts is to choose one exercise for each muscle group per workout. For example, you might do leg presses for the legs, machine pull-downs for the back, bench presses for the chest, upright rows for the shoulders, and triceps push-downs and biceps curls for the arm muscles. Holman often recommends three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps for each exercise with 30 to 60 seconds of rest between each.

Prioritize Your Safety

Young athletes and trainees often push their bodies to the limits, training to failure with heavy weights and even using forced repetitions. Elder gym-goers simply cannot indulge in these types of techniques for safety reasons. Therefore, Holman recommends that aging trainees use very strict form on all exercises. The rule is simple: If you cannot control it, do not lift it. One way to ensure proper form is to use a slow, controlled repetition cadence. For example, on the bench press, you would lift the weight in one or two seconds and take a full three to four seconds to lower it. Holman says this helps prevent joint injury, forcing your muscles to do all the work and allowing for a better workout.

Add Cardiovascular Exercise

The emphasis of cardiovascular exercise in your gym routine becomes more important with age. For example, you might use the elliptical machine, treadmill or exercise bike at your gym. Another option is to be more active in general and find ways to get exercise in a recreational fashion. Swimming, biking or walking make excellent choices for getting a cardio workout. Walking is a wise choice because almost anyone can do it, and at any age. recommends warming up and cooling down for five minutes before and after your walk. Between those periods of low intensity walking, try progressively increasing brisk walking for five, seven, nine and 11 minutes over a four-week period.

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