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Best Exercises For Seniors To Lose Weight In 2024: Top 10 Workouts To Try
Working out shouldn’t be neglected as we age. Some would even argue it’s becoming more important as we do so to stay healthy and thriving, burn unnecessary fat, and keep the excess weight off. Still, there are some exercises that are better than others, and these ten are easy and effective!
Top 10 Effective Weight Loss Exercises For Seniors To Lose Weight
- Water Aerobics
- Resistance Band Workouts
- Chair Yoga
- Indoor Cycling
- Body Weight Training
- Strength Training
Best Exercise For Seniors To Lose Weight
Probably the easiest of all exercises that aid in weight loss, but maybe even the most effective is walking. The simple action we all do on a daily basis, walking, is a low-impact exercise that ensures you stay mobile and agile for years to come while helping you burn fat and lose weight at the same time.
The best thing about walking is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, at any pace you feel comfortable, and without spending any money. Depending on your physical state and energy levels, you can choose to do a brisk walk, challenge yourself to go uphill, or simply stroll around your favorite park or neighborhood and feel good knowing you’re doing something amazing for your health and wellness. Most seniors feel comfortable doing this activity as it’s so low impact. That’s why it’s a definite number one on our list.
Aerobic exercises, in general, are amazing for weight loss for seniors as the exercises work the entire body, help activate all of your muscles, lose belly fat, improve blood flow, increase your flexibility and mobility, and strengthen your joints. Adding water into the mix only helps further as the buoyancy of the water puts less stress on the joints. Water forces really diminish the impact on the joints, but it also adds natural resistance, avoiding the need for using additional weights to challenge your muscles. It’s amazing for those seniors battling arthritis or other joint pains, as the buoyancy and warmth really help to support every exercise. Some of the best exercises include aqua jogging, flutter kicking, and standing water push-ups.
Resistance Band Workouts
Resistance bands are a fantastic tool for weight loss for seniors as they create a great challenge for their bodies without being too stressful or adding a risk of injuries. They’re ideal to do anyplace and anytime, and they come in a variety of strength levels and sizes, so they can be used with most exercises to add more resistance. From tricep extensions and shoulder presses to crab walks and lunges, there’s plenty you can do to get your heart rate up and those calories burning.
If you’re unfamiliar with resistance bands, find a personal trainer and have them teach you the moves you can then do at your own pace and convenience. The correct technique is extremely important, so don’t neglect it!
Yoga is a great way to move your body, no matter your age, shape, size, or level of flexibility. It can do wonders for your joints, flexibility, and mobility levels which gets even more important as you age. Chair yoga eliminates the stress on the joints and helps support exercises in a much greater way.
Since the chair was introduced into yoga exercises, a plethora of creative and efficient modifications have been added to the list. There’s something for everyone, no matter what shape you’re in. Additionally, chair yoga is fantastic for weight loss for seniors as it elevates their heart rate just enough to put them in fat-burning mode.
Another great low-impact weight-loss workout for seniors is Pilates. Easily modifiable and gentle, Pilates improves balance and overall body awareness, reducing the risk of falling, increasing strength and mobility, and helping keep the weight off, burning those calories with isolated, repetitive movements.
Research shows that adding Pilates into your workout regimen can help slow the progress of age-related diseases such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia and might even help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Pilates exercises could potentially have health benefits for those who have Parkinson’s disease. A study from 2016 revealed a positive impact a mat-based 8-week Pilates program had on gait in post-stroke patients. Another study from 2019 showed positive results from working with Pilates.
Still, regardless of the medical condition, regular Pilates exercises definitely help them to maintain a positive outlook and attitude, a major factor in slowing disease progression and improving their quality of life.
When it comes to a weight loss exercise program for seniors, it’s all about reducing the stress on the joints. Unfortunately, our bodies can sustain less and less of it as the years roll in. Luckily, there are now so many incredible exercises to choose from which deliver the same results but create a much lower impact.
The elliptical is one of these exercises that relieve stress on the joints and help burn more calories that aid in weight loss. It also improves balance and overall blood flow, allowing for better disposal of toxins.
Indoor cycling is another amazing way for seniors to lose excess weight while still staying safe and not risking injuries. With the element of balance, unfavorable weather conditions, and the possibility of making sudden moves eliminated, you can focus on your technique and get those legs spinning the pedals as fast as you feel comfortable.
You can pick up the pace and keep the resistance at a minimum or crank up the resistance and lower your rate, working on strengthening those muscles and joints and keeping them mobile and functioning for years to come.
Body Weight Training
Bodyweight training is always a great idea for weight loss and building muscle strength, even as we approach senior age. These are all exercises that work the whole body using just your body/ This way, not only are we not limited to trying anything we feel comfortable doing, but there’s no risk of putting too much stress on our joints and muscles.
From squats and lunges to push-ups and planks, there’s plenty you can incorporate into your workout routine and help lose unwanted weight while staying safe and comfortable.
For those seniors who feel comfortable using added weights, exercises that require dumbbells and kettlebells are a great way to get the heart rate up and burn off the excess calories. It’s a great way to stay strong, keep the blood pumping, strengthen muscles, and work on your mobility and flexibility. This type of exercise isn’t recommended for pure beginners, and it should always be under the guidance of a personal trainer, but if you’re already familiar with it, don’t eliminate it from your routine. As we age, the intensity and duration have to go down, so having someone watch over you is crucial to avoid overdoing it.
Last but not least, dancing is a fantastic and fun way for seniors to keep those pounds off while having a blast in the process. It’s safe, improves balance, strengthens multiple large muscle groups, and definitely lifts your spirits. You can bring a partner or join a group and elevate your experience, even more, pushing yourself to do better while enjoying yourself to the fullest.
From Zumba and jazz to ballroom and Latin, find something you enjoy and add it to your weekly routine. You’ll feel so much better, and the weight will just magically drop.
Weight Loss Exercises For Seniors To Avoid
When it comes to exercises seniors should avoid, we’re talking about any exercise that includes a high impact on joints and tendons, heavyweight, and unsafe balance routines. Generally, these are thought to be:
- Bench presses
- Abdominal crunches
- Squats with a barbell
- Deadlift with heavyweights
- Long-distance running and cycling
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Competitive sports
- Combat sports
- Stair workouts
- Balancing on one leg or arm balances
Working out changes as we age. While our goals may be the same (weight loss, improved blood flow, mobility, maintaining overall health, and longevity, the way we approach exercises becomes different. It’s important to reduce the risk of injuries, lower the impact on joints, and keep the heart rate at a healthy level. With this advice, your goals will be attainable too.
+ 6 sources
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- Waters, D.L., Ward, A.L. and Villareal, D.T. (2013). Weight loss in obese adults 65years and older: A review of the controversy. Experimental Gerontology, [online] 48(10), pp.1054–1061. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714333/
- Washington.edu. (2021). Water Exercises. [online] Available at: https://orthop.washington.edu/patient-care/articles/arthritis/water-exercises.html
- Roh, S., Gil, H.J. and Yoon, S. (2016). Effects of 8 weeks of mat-based Pilates exercise on gait in chronic stroke patients. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, [online] 28(9), pp.2615–2619. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5080188/
- Suárez-Iglesias, D., Miller, K.J., Seijo-Martínez, M. and Ayán, C. (2019). Benefits of Pilates in Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Medicina, [online] 55(8), p.476. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723274/
- Mayer, F., Scharhag-Rosenberger, F., Carlsohn, A., Cassel, M., Müller, S. and Scharhag, J. (2011). The Intensity and Effects of Strength Training in the Elderly. Deutsches Aerzteblatt Online. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117172/
- Hwang, P.W.-N. and Braun, K.L. (2015). The Effectiveness of Dance Interventions to Improve Older Adults’ Health: A Systematic Literature Review. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, [online] 21(5), pp.64–70. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5491389/