Exercise is no less important at 60 than when you were 25. Whether you are just starting to exercise or have been working out for decades, physiological changes take place as your body ages. These include a decrease in lean, muscle tissue, an increase in body fat and issues with balance and stability. While osteoporosis is more prevalent in women, men can also experience some depletion in bone strength. Despite this trend of degeneration that comes with age, research in the "Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management" found these changes can be slowed, stopped or reversed through an exercise program.
Designing a Workout
Based on the changes associated with aging, statements from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine provide workout recommendations specifically for older adults. They recommend limiting your workouts to three times weekly. Also, as resting blood pressure tends to rise with age, resistance training should be limited to 30 minutes, consisting of three sets of eight exercises done for up to 20 repetitions and using a weight that requires 40 to 80 percent of your maximum effort.
Reducing Body Fat
Exercising in a circuit is an ideal method for altering body composition and reducing fat. This is because circuit training also encourages fat burning for a period of time after your workout, as it leads elevated post-exercise metabolic rates. To perform a circuit, do one exercise immediately following the one before it with no rest in between. After completing all your exercises once, rest for two minutes before repeating them. Many gyms have an area of machines set up specifically for circuit training. If yours does not, use one machine for each muscle group: back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders and legs.
Balance and Stability
Exercising on a stability ball activates your core and adds a balance and stability component to your workout. Sit or lie on the ball for some exercises you would do on a workout bench, like biceps curls, overhead triceps extensions or chest presses. You can add other exercises specifically geared toward balance and stability. If you're a beginner, try sitting on the ball and balancing with just one foot on the ground. Progress to ball walks. From a seated position, walk your feet out as you slide your back down onto the ball. Continue to walk your feet forward until your head and shoulders are on the ball and your knees are above your ankles. Pause in this position, keeping your hips lifted in a bridge, before reversing the movement.
Weight-bearing exercises -- any exercise where your body must support weight against gravity -- have the ability to strengthen bones and counteract the reduction in bone density you may experience as you age. The most effective are weight-bearing, multi-joint exercises such as the ball wall squat. Lean against an exercise ball placed between your back and a wall. With feet shoulder-width apart, squat down as if you were going to sit in a chair. Go as low as you are able, up to the point where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Complete the move by pressing up through your heels to a stand.
- Essentials for Personal Fitness Training, 4th Edition; National Academy of Sports Medicine
- Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management: Guidelines and Practical Prescription Applications
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Muscle Force and Activation Under Stable and Unstable Conditions
- American College of Sports Medicine: Resistance Training and the Older Adult
- Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Effect of weight training exercise and treadmill exercise on post-exercise oxygen consumption.
- The National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases Resource Center: Osteoporosis Prevention