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Bad Exercise Habits Everyone Over 60 Should Quit, Trainer Says

Ditch them ASAP.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

No matter your age, you should be leading an active, healthy lifestyle. This means focusing on the fundamentals: eating a healthy diet high in lean protein and vegetables, getting in regular strength training, and also participating in cardio activities. If you're already incorporating these into your routine, you're definitely on the right track! However, there may be a few bad exercise habits you're doing that should be ditched as soon as possible—especially if you're over 60. This is because there are certain activities that you can get away with in your 30s and 40s that you probably can't safely perform as you grow older.

Don't fret, because these bad exercise habits can be fixed, which we will get into below. But first, it can't be stressed enough: It's so important to listen to your body, and don't push yourself or take on more than you can physically handle. When in doubt, consult with your healthcare professional to come up with just the right fitness regimen for you. You may also work with a personal trainer who guides you through a personalized workout plan that works well.

Without further ado, here are four bad exercise habits you should ditch if you're 60 or older. Read on to learn more, and next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Performing exercises that give you any sort of pain or discomfort

senior woman working out with weights in gym

This should be a no-brainer and something you should never do, no matter your age. Listening to your body and knowing what it can and can't handle is absolutely critical when you're working out.

As you continue to grow older, joint health becomes increasingly more important. And as mentioned earlier, there are exercises you can do when you're younger that are likely unsafe to perform as you get older. It might be due to mobility issues, or because these exercises place more stress on your joints. Some common exercise examples include upright rows, skull crushers, or behind-the-neck presses and pulldowns.

If there's an exercise that gives you any sort of pain or discomfort, drop it immediately, and replace it with a similar, joint-friendly substitute instead.

Related: Secret Exercise Tricks To Reshaping Your Body After 60, Trainer Says

Prioritizing cardio over strength training

man running on treadmill

Although cardio is extremely important for heart health, burning calories, and improving our endurance, many people go overboard with it and completely ignore strength training. The problem with this is that as you age, you lose muscle mass and bone density at a faster rate—especially if you don't do anything to maintain it. If you're not strength training regularly, start incorporating it into your routine to build and maintain lean muscle.

Ignoring flexibility and mobility work

older man stretching in a gym
Shutterstock / Mladen Zivkovic

Besides trying to maintain your lean muscle and performing joint-friendly exercises, a bad exercise habit to quit now is to stop ignoring mobility and flexibility. Besides losing lean mass when you get older, you also lose range of motion and flexibility—especially if you don't do anything to maintain them. It's important to incorporate stretches, mobility drills, or even yoga classes to improve your flexibility and range of motion in all of your movement patterns.

Related: Over 60? These Exercises Will Make Your Body Look Younger, Trainer Says

Using exercise to burn off "cheat meals" and "cheat days"

two senior women doing seated row

This is more of a psychological habit than physical, and it affects all ages. You may like to add "cheat meals" and "cheat days" into your weekend eating and end up over-exercising because you feel guilty about how overindulgent you were. Unfortunately, this can lead to an endless cycle, and you likely won't make solid progress with your fat loss goals. Instead, use exercise as a tool to improve your fitness instead of a method to burn off "cheat days."

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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