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Fitness After 60: Want to Stay Strong? Let’s Get Started!

Sixty and Me - Want to Stay Strong After 60 Let’s Get Started
Margaret Manning

Many people used to think that getting older meant experiencing an inevitable physical decline. Of course it’s true that most 60 year old women aren’t going to run a 3-minute mile or lift 100 pound weights, but recent research suggests that older adults can continue to stay stronger and healthier with regular exercise, especially strength training. Fitness after 60 is a choice.

A recent article in the New York Times, says that after age 40, people typically lose 8 percent or more of their muscle mass every ten years, but losing strength as we get older is not inevitable. In fact, it was observed that competitive cyclists and swimmers in their 70s and 80s were about as strong as they were in their 60s. Even with decreasing muscle strength in the legs, the process of losing muscle can be slowed or halted with good exercise and strength training.

Dr. Vonda Wright, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, was involved with conducting the study, and was quoted as saying, “People don’t have to lose muscle mass and function as they grow older. The changes that we’ve assumed were due to aging and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity. And that can be changed.”

What Types of Exercise are Best?

Some research suggests that running may help improve muscle mass, but the conclusions are unclear as to which type of exercise is best for women over 60.

One study found that older people can get stronger through weight lifting and resistance training. In fact 73 year old Sandy Palais of Tempe, Arizona was profiled in this story. She started lifting weights three days a week after being diagnosed with osteoporosis and soon was earning silver and gold medals as a weightlifter at the Senior Olympics.

Getting Stronger As We Get Older

Exercise physiologist Mark Peterson found changes from strength training can be dramatic, increasing muscle mass by an average of 2.5 pounds in five months with some adults over 50. So, women can think about weight training and exercise for both “maintaining” and building lots of new muscle and boosting strength. Muscle strength is important for aging women mostly because it helps prevent falls, a leading cause of hospitalization. Getting stronger now in your 60’s can help you live a longer, healthier life.

If you have been sedentary for a while and want to start an exercise routine, just start slow. Talk to your doctor before making big changes in your physical activity level. One of the best ways to exercise is simply to walk for 30 minutes per day. Check out this YouTube video called “23 and ½ hours” from Dr. Mike Evans, a specialist in preventive medicine. He asks “what is the single best thing we can do for our health?” You’ll be amazed at how such a simple activity can improve people’s health and reduce health risks in a wide variety of ways.

If you want to start lifting weights, check with your local gym for options for personal training or classes. It’s often best to get guidance on how to lift weights properly to avoid injury and make sure you’re getting optimal results.

Life after 60 doesn’t have to be a time of physical decline. It can be a time of rejuvenation and finding new strength – emotionally, spiritually and physically.

What is your favorite way to exercise and stay strong? What new surprising physical feats have you performed in this stage of life? Let us know in the comments!



Here are 10 more healthy lifestyle tips for women over 60.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Consult a doctor before doing anything described in this article. Read our full disclaimer at

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  1. Inspiring!

  2. First thing quit work

  3. walking, swimming

  4. Walking,cyckling,swimming,gymnastic…

  5. Walking, swimming, pilates, yoga, zumba

  6. working – I walk a lot at work

  7. I enjoy swimming.

  8. I am doingyoga and body sculpting and trying to keep strong and fit!

  9. ich habe einen Jungbrunnen und das ist mein HUND,–täglich bei Sonne oder Regen wandern …..

  10. Ballet and tap dancing…

  11. My daughter just bought me a kayak!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Chasing The Geezer around the house with one of my cast iron skillets! :-P

  13. Walking and gardening

  14. Anything outdoors!

  15. DO not agree I still fell that I can do most of the think I want too.

  16. on a crosstrainer – gently but regular exercise and it wokrs a treat

  17. I used to lift weights, I need to go back, but for me now I just started Argentine Tango. I am so happy every day. My pheromones and oxytocin (hope the right word) are soaring. Even my kids are commenting on how happy I am. Check this out, I saw a documentary and realized this is a life style. I live in Athens, Greece. We have a teacher who just arrived from Argentina. Talked to her tonight, she is an Archaeologist on a grant from Argentina. she contacted the Tango community and she told me, it is a community. The Tango evenings in New York” Central Park are famous around the world. It becomes an addiction.

  18. Translation : I have a fountain of youth, and this is my dog,-daily walking in sunshine or rain…

  19. I am in my seventies and feel better tben I did in my fifties.

  20. Eat right and exercise on a regular basis will keep you strong and healthy, drink lots of water and take your vitamins, and enjoy the sunshine!

  21. Be a cougar!!!

  22. I took a bad fall the day before Christmas Eve 2011. I dislocated my shoulder and severely damaged it. I’ve had 4 surgeries in the past year. This experience made me realize how your life can change in an instant! I just turned 60 in April. I still go to physical therapy twice a week. I use this as my special time to heal myself and get away from all the other stresses in my life. I have a wonderful therapist. Once I get clearance from my surgeons I plan on starting a supervised exercise program at the wellness center associated with the PT Dept. at the hospital I go to. I am a quilt designer and through all I’ve been through I’ve been able to continue to advance my career and stay positive. I’m looking forward to starting my exercise program and have already bought new sneakers and workout clothes! Imagine, sixty and spandex! :)

  23. Stay busy and active.

  24. Always

  25. No I don’t think I am too inactive am just the opposite

  26. want to loose weight cant seem to, I eat healthy foods hardly any potatoes or bread (multigrain) a small uncut lasts me a week and I usually throw some out 1% milk salads and lots of fresh fruit so what am I doing wrong I do enjoy walking but nothing helps

  27. Ditto Jane. It infuriates me. I eat very few carbs now and the weight is beginning to come off slowly! But oh so very slowly!!!

  28. Exercise. Keep moving. Avoid sedentary life.

  29. thought it was thyroid but that is stabalized so should not be problem so unless i’m alergic to something i’m eating dont know what the answer is

  30. It takes so long to loose weight now, I exercise all the time, eat right,only small portions of food, one just has to pesevere!

  31. I have just put it down to age! Annoying though.

  32. lol could be just age but hey we can dream

  33. The only I have ever lost weight is with slimming World, now I live here there is no Slimming World, it’s so hard I no, but at 65 I love my life, just miss my family. Good luck Jane. Jx

  34. Yes it is a lot harder to loose weight as you get older, takes a lot more work. Keep walking.

  35. Once you put it on, it is so hard to take that extra weight off again.

  36. I don’t carry extra weight, but I need to start walking! I feel weak.

  37. today i’m feeling not well but tomorrow i’ll hope to feel good to go outside!!! walking!!!!!!!!!

  38. after 70

  39. Trying to exercise more, walking and eating healthy!