After 30, inactive people can lose 3% to 5% muscle mass per decade, according to WebMD. Exercise for seniors over 70 can help maintain good health and slow down this loss. If you’re wondering what exercises will be suitable for you as a senior over 70, here are eight workout routine-related adjustments you can consider.
1. Exercise regularly
To get the best benefits from exercise, it’s important that you do it regularly. Five days a week is a good starting point for moderate activities and three days for harder workouts.
2. Strength exercises (bodyweight vs. lifting weights)
Start with bodyweight exercises. Once, you’re able to handle your bodyweight, only then consider lifting weights, says trainer Meghan Kennihan. She uses exercises like squats, pushups, bicycle crunches, etc.
Work on all the major muscles of the body at least twice a week. Try to complete at least one set (up to 12 reps) of each strength exercise. Besides going to the gym and lifting weights, you can also build strength with yoga and doing the harder digging jobs in your yard.
3. Aerobic activity (moderate)
Choose one or more exercises that require moderate effort on your part. Some options include walking and riding a bike on flat surfaces. If you aren’t big on these activities, consider joining and ballroom or line dancing group or cutting your grass with a lawnmower. Go for a daily limit of at least 30 minutes and a weekly limit of 150 minutes. Divide your daily activity into separate sessions if that works best for you.
4. Aerobic exercises (hard)
If you can handle high-intensity workouts, substitute the 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity for 75 minutes of vigorous activity. There are a few ways you can go about this. Start to jog or run or ride a bike in a hilly area. If you like racket sports, considered playing singles tennis. The more energy-intensive types of dances are another option.
5. Mix moderate with hard activity
If your preferences for the intensity of exercise change often, consider a mix of the two approaches. Remember that one minute of vigorous exercise equals two minutes of moderate activity.
6. Mobility (bike vs. treadmill)
By age 75, about 33% of men and 50% of women do no physical activity, says CDC. And, staying sedentary for long periods hurts health. But, staying mobile has its own challenges for people with balance issues and joint pain. For its increased safety, using a stationary bicycle or treadmill can be a better choice compared to biking outside.
7. Flexibility (full-body vs. muscle group)
When stretching to stay flexible, try to incorporate full-body multidirectional movements instead of isolating a muscle group, says strength and conditioning specialist Rocky Snyder.
8. Good environment
Your workout environment, both the people and the surroundings, matter when it comes to staying healthy. Ensure that your overall health remains in top condition by maintaining the health of your home environment.
Amanda Turner is a freelance writer and a recent graduate who is taking some time to build her writing portfolio and explore her passions through writing.
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At age 57, senior triathlete Laurent Labbe continues to prove both to himself and others that he is young in heart and body by competing in Ironman triathlons.
But there is more to his story than a personal enjoyment of endurance sports. Laurent has found a way to engage his family, using triathlon to build relationships with his children by training and participating in races with them. See Reason 3 of “15 Reasons for Those 50 and Older to Do Triathlons”.
It Started With Swimming and Biking In The Alps
As a child growing up in France, Laurent Labbe developed a love for the outdoors and for swimming through holidays and vacations with his family in the Alps and central mountains of his home country.
In his early 20’s, he was introduced to mountain biking. His attraction to mountain biking led to rides in many countries throughout Europe, including France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Belgium.
Then in his 30’s, Laurent began running. In addition to enjoying endurance sports, he found it easier to run than bike while traveling around the world for work. This led to him completing the Paris marathon twice.
“The best run of my life” came as part of a work-related team building exercise in the Gobi desert. One of the activities involved walking more than 30 km (18.6 mile) each day during three days. On the last day, Laurent decided to run, instead of walk, in the desert. Starting at 5 am, he completed a 22 km (13.7 mile) run with a GPS and headlight to guide him in the pre-dawn.
“Running across the dunes in the fresh air and with the sun rising was magic, so beautiful”.
Transition to Endurance Multisport
During this time, he also connected with a group at work who competed in races involving biking, running, and kayaking; one form of triathlon today.
In 2011, Laurent and a friend participated in the King of Grassland race in Inner Mongolia. This three-day endurance race was across grassy hills and fields populated with herds of sheep and horses and consisted of:
Day 1: 60 km (37.3 mile) mountain bike,
Day 2: Full running marathon (42 km/26.2 miles) in the morning and 45 km (28 mile) mountain bike in the afternoon,
Day 3: 100 km (62 mile) mountain bike.
Laurent described this race as an “exhausting but amazing experience”. In fact, they completed this race two more times in the following years. However, when King of Grassland was canceled during years of drought, Laurent and his friend decided to look for another race.
His friend finally convinced him to register for the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Taiwan half Ironman held in March. It was time for another bike – a carbon fiber road bike.
Training for the race, especially for the bike leg, was a challenge. During this period, he was living and working in Shenzhen, China, a city of 13 million. He used the commute to bike to and from the office ‘rain or shine’, somehow managing to survive the horrendous traffic, heat, and pollution.
“You cannot imagine how dangerous it can be biking 22 km per day in a city like Shenzhen.”
His training for this triathlon proved to be effective, remembering that the bike ride went well. Sadly, however, during the run he mistakenly forgot one of the three loops that made up the run. The DNF (did not finish) was frustrating, especially after the months of training.
“I was so upset that I missed the last 4 km of the run and received the DNF. I decided to run the final 4 km in the rain, just to be able to say I had completed the distance.”
“Overall, I like the challenge [of long course triathlon]. Doing Ironman is magic and it was a new experience. I’m not young anymore but I like to try to do new things.”
A Family Affair
With this experience in long course triathlon, Laurent was hooked.
It was also during this period that Laurent involved two of his sons. His then seven-year-old son competed in the IronKid event that was part of the Colombo, Sri Lanka half Ironman. Then, his oldest son, age 30 at the time, joined him in the Japan race.
To top it off, his daughter was in Japan to cheer on her father and brother. She also caught the ‘triathlon bug’ and shortly thereafter began to train for her first triathlon.
Laurent acknowledges that he is “very lucky to have a wife who supports all of this travel, cheering me on and helping wherever possible”.
Favorite Ironman Triathlons
The races involving his sons have been his favorite so far.
Of the Strongman All Japan Triathlon held on a small island called Miyako-Jima, Laurent noted “I never saw a race with so many people along the road encouraging racers. I think every inhabitant of the island – young kids, school-age kids, old people, disabled people, hospital people, everyone – was on the road from the first competitor to the last one. The course was beautiful and challenging, especially for the bike. And, the organization and volunteers were exceptional.”
Ironman 70.3 Bintan was second favorite, again because of the venue – biking around the island and a beautiful run around the lake – and his younger son taking part in the kid’s race.
Sport is good, for the body and also for the family.”
Lessons for Ironman Triathlon
Laurent has learned some valuable lessons for others in our age group who may be interested in long course triathlon.
Sign up for a race. There is nothing like it to motivate you to train.
Train seriously. Laurent trains as much as possible, using many opportunities (going to work; family outings; skipping lunch breaks) and always, ALWAYS with a heart rate monitor. Laurent says “The heart is our motor. I believe we need to listen to its rate, not staying too long in the ‘red zone’ (high rate) and train to make it stronger and more efficient in the endurance zone”. (Look for a future article on triathlon training, including with a heart rate monitor, especially for those age 50+.)
Do not force yourself or train beyond your limits.
“We need to take care of our body after age 50. I want to continue for at least another 15 years.”
Train – and race – with a friend. Friends will push and give advice to each other.
Restart training almost immediately after, even the day after, the race. “If we stop training, we go backward. It also helps to have another race in sight.”
Find the right shoes, the right ones for your body and running mechanics.
Properly fitting bike – any road bike can be used but aerobars can really help by making the ride more comfortable. Most important is to have the right bike ‘fit’ (settings of the seat, handlebars, aerobars, etc.) to avoid back or knee pain.
During the race, find a balance between pleasure, effort, and pain. Laurent recalls several times during the swim looking at the fish in the water and thinking how fortunate he is to be able to do such things. Enjoy each moment. Feel free to take time to shoot some pictures.
Race to finish. “There is no shame in stopping and walking during the run or even the bike if it becomes too hard. Remember that our goal is to finish a race, which is far more than 90% (or more) of people in our age range are able to do.
Be prepared to repair a flat tire. “Flat tires happen sometimes. On one race, it’s happened twice to me. Twice, because in the hurry, I replaced the bad one with a bad one. Fortunately, I had a good one in my pocket.”
Don’t rush the transitions (this is especially relevant to Ironman triathlons). “Keep cool during the transition. There is no need to rush. The effort on the legs during the swim and bike is so great that the legs can easily cramp. The best way I found to avoid cramps is to go slowly. Remove the wetsuit smoothly and put on the running shoes smoothly. And, be sure there is not a single stone in the socks.”
Eating and Drinking During the Triathlon
Avoid drinking or eating food you don’t know during the race. Focus on water and your own food. Laurent indicated that he has become sick from bad drink or food before and during races.
“I learned from Chinese people to avoid drinking cold or ice-cold liquids, instead taking drinks at ambient (or ‘room’) temperature. These are better assimilated than ice cold drinks. For example, during a race in Dubai it was impossible to get ambient temperature water and I had a lot of stomach pain from drinking only cold water.”
After the Race
Always spend time after the race to think about the race. Identify the good, bad, and how to improve next time.
One More Thing
A healthy lifestyle is key. Laurent does not smoke or drink alcohol. With the help of his wife, he is also careful about the food he eats. “My Chinese wife is very picky on the balance of vegetable, fish, amount of oil. And, we never eat fast food.”
Just Getting Started
This year, Laurent will compete in Ironman Vietnam and the Ironman Championship in Nice, France with his oldest son. Before his first race, Laurent will be training with a younger son (8) for a kid’s triathlon in Hong Kong. And, during this time, Laurent’s oldest daughter (28) will finish her first triathlon in France.
He is also looking for a way to better connect with other senior triathletes in Hong Kong (where he is currently living) and the surrounding region to share experiences and maybe even train together.
Watch for Laurent to be competing in triathlon for many years to come, including ones in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, also be on the lookout for his children to appear in more races as the next generation builds on their father’s passion for triathlon. In fact, Laurent is looking forward to completing a triathlon together with all five of his children.
What if you are not from a swimming background though want to be more competitive in the triathlon swim? One answer is to add more structure to your swim training.
I Want To Be A More Competitive Swimmer
There are many triathletes whose goal for the swim is to “just get through it so that I can get on the bike”.
I am not one of these.
Swimming is enjoyable to me. I have spent many hours reading books and blog posts and watching videos about swimming in order to be a faster swimmer. I have also gotten advice from my son, a former college swimmer, on how to improve my swim.
As with most sports, improvement comes by developing better technique, a more efficient form, greater full body strength, and aerobic fitness.
Increasing Stroke Rate Using the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro
According to Swim Smooth, there is an ideal relationship between swim speed (time per 100 m) and swim stroke rate (strokes per minute). A swimming stroke that is too high (RED zone) hints at too short a stroke. On the other hand, a slow stroke rate typically indicates too much glide with each stroke and a tendency to create a hand position in the latter part of the stroke that causes one to slow.
My swim currently falls in the upper left portion of the BLUE region. Using my FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro, I am training to increase my stroke rate while paying close attention to the catch phase.
About the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro
The FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro is a waterproof metronome. The choice of one of its three modes depends on the training plan. For example, one mode allow you to set a time per lap for use with interval training.
I set the device to transmit an audible tone for each of the strokes in the targeted pace. For example, I set the Trainer to beep every 1.0 second for a stroke rate of 60 strokes per minute.
The pace is adjustable in 1/100th of a second increments giving plenty of resolution for every situation.
The small, waterproof device easily secures beneath a swim cap and transmits a clearly heard, audible beep. It floats in water to help avoid it being lost in the pool or open water.
The Tempo Trainer Pro also comes with a clip for ‘dryland’ training. For example, it is used in bike (cadence) and run (foot turnover rate) training.
The FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro includes a replaceable battery. I have had the device for more than five years and replaced the battery one time by taking it to a local BatteriesPlus store.
My journey toward becoming a better swimmer continues by working to increase my stroke rate. With strength training and more structured time in the water, I am confident that I will be more competitive in the triathlon swim.
Washington, September 13, 2015 – Tri Turtle Tri, Wildcat Lake County Park
With yesterday’s race in Oregon, I had completed triathlons in half of the states of the USA. Today, I would start the second half with the triathlon in the state of Washington.
A Short Trip to the Washington Triathlon
After the awards ceremony for the Best in the West Triathlon, Joy and I pointed our van to Wildcat Lake Park, a county park outside Bremerton, Washington. Our goal was to reach the park in time for packet pickup for the next day’s race.
We reached the park, which is located within 10 miles of the eastern edge of the Olympic National Park, with time to spare and collected the race packet.
Meet the Race Director
no doubt in my mind that Lisa Ballou is the reason for the longevity of Tri
Turtle Tri. She is organized and among the
most enthusiastic of race directors I have met.
Lisa’s email signature – ‘Lisa B, your Tri Turtle’ – gives you a sense
of her fun-loving personality.
communications before and after the race encouraged both experienced and first-time
triathletes. For example, take a look at
her description of the swim course from an email sent a few days before the
“The ½ mile SWIM will travel in a clockwise triangle. Volunteers will be positioned on surfboards about every 100 yards along the course. Swimmers can stop and rest at these markers, if necessary. In addition, there will be swim volunteers in the water with flotation noodles to aid swimmers needing personal assistance.”
After a single sentence description of the race course, Lisa dedicated the remaining space to encouraging those less-than-confident swimmers. I know that if I were concerned about the swim, I would feel a whole lot more comfortable knowing that the water was filled with people ready, willing, and able to help me complete this first leg of the triathlon.
Another Triathlon Doubling as a Fundraiser
2015 was also the 10th year that Tri Turtle Tri donated
part of its proceeds to local fitness and wellness programs, which included a
free community wide “Family Fun Run” to encourage families to greater
This was the also the third year that Tri Turtle Tri, through Tri Turtle
Wellness, had awarded a college scholarship to a Klahowya secondary school
graduate. The scholarship was based on the
student’s essay describing how the Kitsap Tri Babe motto, “The miracle is
not that I finished, the miracle is that I began,” was relevant to their
10th Annual Tri Turtle Tri SprintPlus Triathlon
400 participants gathered on this drizzly morning at Wildcat Park to swim,
bike, and run in and around Wildcat Lake.
for the individual legs of this USAT-sanctioned
triathlon were slightly longer than those of the typical sprint triathlon,
hence the name ‘SprintPlus’:
Swim: 0.5 mile (800 m)
Bike: 15.6 mile (25.1 km)
Run: 3.4 mile (5.5 km)
of the water in Wildcat Lake today was below 78⁰F meaning that according to USA
Triathlon rules wetsuits could be worn for the swim. The cool drizzle made the wetsuit even more desirable.
mile (800 m) swim followed a clockwise triangular path with two right turns
before exiting the lake.
two mistakes on race morning that caused me to waste time on the swim, even if
only a few tens of seconds. First, I had
not identified the swim exit on the race course map. I also missed the portion of the pre-race meeting
during which the exit was identified.
As a result, during the final leg of the triangular-shaped course, I set a trajectory toward the area where we had entered the lake, instead of toward the actual exit which was a few tens of yards left of the start.
Triathlon tip: Take time before the race to learn the course as much as possible. This should involve learning where to exit the swim typically by identifying a marker near the exit.
From the exit of the water, we climbed a steep hill on our way to the transition area. Upon reaching flatter ground, the remaining jog to the transition area involved dodging, and occasionally stepping on, sharp rocks protruding from the ground.
mile (25.1 km), out-and-back bike course took us on local roads, initially west
of Wildcat County Park. At about half
way toward the turnaround, the course shifted to a southwesterly direction. Sparse traffic allowed us to enjoy the evergreen
trees, deciduous shrubs, and ground cover that was only occasionally interrupted
by an access for a home or small business.
A short distance before turning around, we exited the main road onto one that looped around to rejoin it about a half-mile southwest of where we had left it. While the scenery still included stands of tall, straight pines, this area reminded me a lot of the northern part of my home state of Minnesota with its splotches of bogs and wetlands within the forests.
We then rejoined the main road for our return to the transition area. At this point, we were within 3 miles of Hood Canal, a fjord that makes up part of Puget Sound.
A Hilly Ride
though the course featured an elevation gain of between 750 and just under 900
feet (230 to 275 m), depending upon the map used, I really did not recall it being
were two, actually three, reasons for the hilliness going unnoticed. First, except for the sizeable hill at the
beginning and end of the course, most of the course consisted of modest rolling
while we were riding on major traffic ways for the area, there was so little
vehicle traffic on this Sunday morning, that we could enjoy the forests and wetlands
along the course.
Finally, and most importantly, I was distracted by concern about my tires going flat. As the drizzle continued throughout the race, more water collected on the road. Hearing a hissing sound brought back the unpleasant memories of a similar sound, the one I heard during the Rhode Island triathlon in the minutes before I crashed as a result of a flat tire.
on the sound and remembering the pain of the crash, I became increasingly convinced
that one of my tires was losing air. With
mist collecting on my glasses, it was impossible to get even a quick, clear
glance at the tires to see if they were becoming flat.
could no longer stand not knowing if a crash was imminent, I stopped along the
edge of the road. After dismounting, I
inspected each tire by pressing them firmly between my index finger and thumb. Thankfully, I learned that all of my suspicions
had been wrong. Both tires were fully
inflated, even if dripping wet.
I relaxed and finished the bike leg.
The 3.4 mile (5.5 km) run left the transition area toward the entrance to the park for a counterclockwise run along roads which had been cut through the woods surrounding Wildcat Lake. The tree-lined run course followed the left side of the local road, traveling against the negligible Sunday morning traffic. The course included a continuous series of hills, most gradual but several quite challenging. At the top of the last hill, the course made a left turn for a final sprint to the finish line.
triathlons, the t-shirt is provided during packet pickup either the day before
or day of the race. Tri Turtle Tri was
different in that the t-shirt was presented only to finishers after they crossed
the finish line.
Another unique feature of the t-shirt was that it included the participant’s names. My name was the top one printed on the iconic turtle’s right flipper.
After the Race
Following the race, Joy and I went back to the hotel for a quick shower and to finish packing for the next leg of our trip. The first stop was at Anthony’s HomePort and Oyster Bar in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines for a scrumptious seafood lunch with Joy’s cousin Karyn and her son.
finished lunch around mid-afternoon and made a short trek to nearby Kent where
we would stay the night before resuming our journey home the next day.
The return included stops in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Bismarck, North Dakota; Watson, Minnesota to visit Joy’s cousin Tom; and Hector, Minnesota to visit our eldest granddaughter.
First time for three races in one week.
This was the first time that my name was printed on the race shirt.
First race for which the T-shirt was presented after crossing the finish line only to those who completed the race.