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Exercise for Seniors / Golden Oldies

Many people over the age of 50 think that they are too old or frail to exercise. Staying active, throughout our lives, will help us achieve a positive outlook, during our older years, along with living a fuller life in our youth. Remember it is never too late to take care of yourself.


Strength training helps prevent the breakdown of healthy muscle tissue and bones, along with strengthening connective tissues around the joints such as ligaments. The stronger your body, the less chance you have of injury through accidents, as well as greater resistance against illnesses.

For best results train with weights on good quality exercise machines, starting with a low weight to perform ideally 8 –12 repetitions of the set exercise, followed by a rest of about 60 seconds, before performing a second set of 8 –10 repetitions. All gyms should have qualified instructors at them, make sure that you get your monies worth and ask them to check both the weight you are using, and your technique.

If using free weights make sure that you start with a light weight and establish correct technique before increasing the weight. Aim to increase the weight once you can comfortable perform 15+ reps with that weight, then simply go up to the next weight. Due to going up another weight, you might find that you can only now lift 8-10 repetitions, this is normal, it's how you will slowly develop greater strength. As before aim to change the weight once you can lift 15 + repetitions.

If you feel that starting with weights will be too hard for you, simply use your own body weight to perform the exercises, i.e. doing the biceps curl with no weight, or you could perform the following circuit.

Aim to perform a weight training / circuit session 2 times a week, with two days rest between sessions, never train sore muscles. Always warm-up and stretch before you work out, followed by a cool down and stretch once you have finished.

Wall press-up. Standing closer to the wall is easier. Less than 15 reps.

You can place your hands wide - shoulder or close apart.

Seated Calf raise. Keep your toes on the floor, whilst slowly lifting your heals up. You may want to place a light weight on your knees.

Seated Leg raises, working either one leg at a time, or both legs together. Work each leg for 6-8 reps, controlling the lowering phase of the movement.

Supported dorsal raise, use your arms to help lift your Back 4-8 reps

Lying Tricep Dip, take the elbows back, hands facing forward.

Hip Rolls, perform the exercise slowly each side for 3-5 reps Abdominals

Whilst performing any exercise regime, especially if you are new to fitness, you may experience some of the following.

  • Mild to moderate sweating, increasing as you train harder or get fitter. This is simply your bodies natural cooling system working.
  • Increased heart rate and breathing. Your body is pumping oxygen to your working muscles to help them work efficiently.
  • Muscle aches and pains, normally a day or even two after you have trained. This is simply where the body is breaking down and rebuilding your muscle tissue stronger, to cope with its new demands.

Monitor your progress whilst training, and learn to listen to your body. If at any time you feel any discomfort, either chest pains, especially pressure or tightness around the chest, extending into your left arm and neck, or difficulty in breathing, dizziness or nausea, then stop immediately.

Rest for a minimum of 5 minutes, avoiding any further exercise if the pain continues. If you still have the pain, or it repeats next time you exercise, visit your doctor.

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