7 Exercises All Seniors Have to Try (and 10 They Should Avoid at All Costs)

Are you a fan of exercise?

We all know that having an active lifestyle and a healthy and balanced diet will help us be and feel our best, but regardless of all the recommendations experts give us, how often do you really exercise?

Experts recommend we aim for at least 75 minutes of dynamic aerobic exercise or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. However, your body also needs to be strong, so you’ll also need some resistance training, and experts say that you should have a strength-training session at least twice a week for maximum results.

Do you know any types of exercise that are suitable for seniors? As you age, your fitness requirements change, and you might discover that an exercise style is not as easy to perform as it used to be, so you might need to make a few modifications here and there.

But here’s the thing: you shouldn’t give up on your fitness routine just because you can’t move easily anymore.

An active lifestyle will help you lose those pesky pounds, make your skin glow, your body stronger and more flexible, keep your fat percentage at a healthy level, live longer, and make you more positive and ready to face the challenges of the day.

We’ve talked to a few experts about the perfect exercises seniors should incorporate into their fitness routines if they want to have strong bones and joints and also keep their health in check.

If you want to know how to keep yourself balanced and happy every day, this article is for you! Here are 7 exercises all seniors have to try (and 10 they should avoid at all costs):

…Put your yoga pants on, because we’re about to talk about working out!

Photo by Koldunov at Shutterstock

1. Chair yoga

You might believe that chair yoga is a form of exercise that only focuses on breathing techniques and stretching out your body, but it’s way more than that.

Chair yoga is actually a low-impact workout that is great for seniors of all fitness levels, and it helps improve muscle mobility and strength, as well as flexibility and balance.

One of the main reasons why chair yoga is great for older people is that it provides less stress on bones, muscles, and joints than more conventional types of yoga, such as Power Vinyasa, Bikram, or Ashtanga.

And the physical benefits are not all you get after a few chair yoga sessions. Experts say that this type of exercise routine has been shown to improve mental health in older practitioners, which is a great bonus, if you ask us.

Besides that, regular practice of chair yoga can lower your chances of getting depressed and promote better quality sleep.

Some of the best chair yoga exercises for older people include seated mountain pose, seated cow stretch, overhead stretch, seated cat stretch, and the seated twist.

2. Pilates

Another popular exercise routine that is great for seniors is Pilates. This is a low-impact workout that was developed by a German physical trainer named Joseph Pilates, and it’s practiced by people from all over the world.

This type of exercise brings together all sorts of important body functions you need on a daily basis, such as breathing, concentration, core strength, and stability.

You can do pilates in a studio, with a personal trainer and equipment, such as a reformer, mat, pilates balls, and even light weights; or you can do it at home, with no equipment at all (of course, make sure to follow the instructions of a certified pilates trainer, so you don’t get injured and be mindful about your form).

This exercise routine can help you develop core strength, build lean muscles, improve your balance, and also increase flexibility. Some of the exercises experts suggest all seniors include in their fitness routine are side circles, leg circles, step-ups, and the mermaid movement.

…Have you ever tried Pilates?

3. Water aerobics

If you love lounging around in the pool, why not give water aerobics a try? You’ll get all those health benefits you want, while having fun and without feeling sweaty and hot!

Exercising in the water is great for everyone who wants to build some lean muscle mass and have an active lifestyle, but it’s especially good for those who are diagnosed with arthritis and other types of joint pain due to the fact that the resilience of the water puts less pressure on the joints.

In addition to that, water brings its own natural resistance, which can successfully replace the need for weights in strength training workouts.

If you’re not fully convinced why you should give water aerobics a try, you should know that it can help your body get stronger, more flexible, and balanced, all of which while putting the least amount of stress on your body.

If you decide to go to a water aerobic class, here are some of the exercises you’ll absolutely adore: arm curls, leg lifts, aqua jogging, standing water push-ups, and flutter kicks.

4. Resistance band exercises

…Have you ever added resistance bands to your workout routine?

This easy and light equipment is actually stretchy strips of rubber that add a bit of resistance to your exercises without putting too much stress on your body.

These sorts of movements with resistance bands are very user-friendly and they’re incredible for people of all fitness levels, including beginners.

Many seniors are crazy about these types of exercises due to the fact that resistance bands are affordable and easy to use, which makes them great for at-home exercise.

You can work your whole body with the help of these bands, and the best part is that they can help you strengthen your core and improve your balance, mobility, and posture.

If you want to purchase resistance bands and try using them in the comfort of your own home, add these exercises to your routine: triceps press, bicep curls, squat walks, band pull apart, leg press, and lateral arm raises.

Photo by Motortion Films at Shutterstock

5. Strength training with dumbbells

Just like we’ve previously said at the beginning of this article, strength training is really important for your body, especially for keeping it strong and healthy.

Several studies have discovered that resistance training is great for easing symptoms of depression, diabetes, back pain, and osteoporosis, while also helping you keep your weight in check.

You don’t have to go to the gym and lift heavy to get all those benefits, such as a higher and faster metabolism and enhanced glucose control.

You can buy some dumbbells and use them at home, but make sure that your form and technique are correct so that you don’t end up getting injured.

The reason why strength training with dumbbells is so popular among people of all ages and fitness levels is that it gives you the chance to isolate each muscle group while also improving flexibility and balance.

Some of the exercises you should try to make your body stronger and more toned are bicep curls, bent-over rows, overhead press, tricep extension, front raises, forward lunges, and standing calf raises.

Did you know that strength training exercises are great for building lean muscle tissue, which will help you burn more calories even 72 hours after you’re done with your workout?

This will help you speed up your metabolism, which means that your body is burning fat even when you’re watching Netflix on the sofa.

6. Walking

If you don’t like any of the exercises we’ve just talked about or you don’t want to invest in any equipment, we have a fix for you: try walking! It is one of the most accessible forms of exercise you can try, and it has numerous benefits for both your body and mind.

For some people, walking might be harder than for others, but everyone should aim for at least 10 minutes of walking each day.

For the general population, experts recommend no less than 10,000 steps per day if they want to keep extra pounds at bay, have a toned body, and have a clear and refreshed mind as well.

You might not believe it, but a study has discovered that walking 10,000 steps each day can actually prevent death. This form of exercise promotes a healthy and balanced lifestyle and can also help you lower the risk of getting heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and stroke, while also helping your muscles get stronger and burn tons of calories.

7. Bodyweight exercises

The last form of exercise we’re going to talk about in this article is exercises that only use your own body weight. Many elderly people might be the victims of muscle loss, which can be extremely frustrating and devastating.

Some studies say that roughly a third of older people actually live with severe muscle loss, which can lead to hormonal issues as well as a decline in the capacity to metabolize protein.

But there is something you can do to keep this problem as far away from you as possible, and this means incorporating bodyweight exercises into your daily fitness routine. These are considered to be one of the most effective ways to reverse the effects of muscle atrophy in seniors.

You can do plenty of exercises in the comfort of your own home or even in the park if you have a yoga mat, we love this one from Amazon, and some adequate workout clothes. Some of the exercises you should try and also add to your workout routine are squats, side lying circles, bird dob, step-ups, and lying hip bridges.

Here Are The Exercises You Should Avoid

Even though seniors can do a lot of workouts and be completely fine, there are some exercises that might not be suitable for everyone. The reason why experts recommend older people avoid all of these exercises is that they are more likely to get injured if their form is not correct.

Besides that, some types of workouts can put additional unhealthy pressure on older people diagnosed with joint pain, posture issues, atrophied muscles, and balance problems.

If you want to have a risk-free exercise routine, here’s what you should avoid if you’re over the age of 65: weighted squats, abdominal crunches, bench and leg press, upright rows, long-distance running, power clean, high-intensity interval training, deadlifts, and rock climbing are some of the exercises you shouldn’t do.

Photo by pics five at Shutterstock


Just because you might not be able to move as easily as you used to when you were a bit younger doesn’t mean that you should stop working out and having an active lifestyle in general.

Trust us, including some sort of exercise in your daily routine will help strengthen your bones, improve mobility and mental health, decrease the risk of falls, and even help prevent you from getting dangerous diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

However, if you’re not sure that you are able to properly work out, you’d better talk to your doctor before starting your fitness journey. This will help you stay away from getting injured, and the professionals might give you ideas regarding the best exercises for your health condition.

Do you have a favorite type of exercise? We are curious to know more about it, so tell us in the comments down below!

If you enjoyed reading this article and you want to read more about how to make the best out of your fitness routine, check this one out: 10 Realistic Fitness Goals Recommended By Personal Trainers!

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