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5 Best Conditioning Workouts To Improve Your Physical Fitness as You Age

These workouts will boost your strength without putting excess strain on your body.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Maintaining physical fitness as you age is crucial for your overall health and well-being. However, traditional workout routines might not be suitable for older adults due to potential joint issues or decreased mobility. That's where conditioning workouts come in handy. These workouts focus on improving cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility without putting excessive strain on the body. Here are five of the best conditioning workouts to improve fitness as you age.

Incorporating these conditioning workouts into your regimen can help boost your physical health and overall quality of life as you grow older. Remember to start slowly, listen to your body, and consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise program. With consistency and dedication, you can enjoy the benefits of improved fitness for years to come.

Keep reading for my five top-recommended conditioning workouts to improve your fitness as you age. And when you're done, be sure to check out People Swear by the 'Drunken Monkey' Exercise for Better Sleep: 'You'll Sleep Better, I Promise'.

Workout #1: Swimming

Swimming is a fantastic low-impact exercise that works nearly every muscle group in the body while providing a cardiovascular workout. It's gentle on the joints, making it ideal for older adults looking to improve their fitness levels.

1. Water Walking

Start in the shallow end of the pool where the water reaches your waist. Walk forward, swinging your arms naturally by your sides. Aim for two sets of five to 10 minutes each, gradually increasing the duration as you build stamina.

2. Poolside Leg Lifts

Hold onto the pool's edge with both hands. Extend one leg straight behind you, keeping it parallel to the pool floor. Lift and lower the extended leg for two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions each, then switch legs.

3. Water Aerobics

water aerobics

Join a water aerobics class or follow an online tutorial. Perform exercises like arm circles, leg kicks, and torso twists. Aim for a 30-minute session, gradually increasing the intensity over time.

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Workout #2: Cycling

Cycling is a low-impact exercise that boosts cardiovascular health and strengthens leg muscles. It can be done outdoors or on a stationary bike indoors, allowing for flexibility in your workout routine.

1. Stationary Bike Warm-up


Start with a five-minute warm-up, pedaling at a moderate pace. Gradually increase the resistance or speed every two minutes. Aim for a total of 15 to 20 minutes, adjusting intensity based on comfort level.

2. Hill Climbs

Increase the resistance on your stationary bike, or find a gentle incline outdoors. Pedal at a steady pace while focusing on maintaining good posture. Aim for two sets of five to 10 minutes each, with a recovery period in between.

3. Interval Training

Alternate between periods of high-intensity pedaling and low-intensity recovery. Start with one minute of intense pedaling followed by two minutes of easy pedaling. Repeat for a total of 10 to 15 minutes, gradually increasing the intensity and duration.

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Workout #3: Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a gentle form of martial arts that focuses on slow, deliberate movements and deep breathing. It improves balance, flexibility, and mental well-being, making it ideal for older adults.

1. Tai Chi Warm-up

tai chi

Begin with deep breathing exercises to center yourself. Perform gentle arm swings and shoulder rolls to loosen up. Spend five to 10 minutes warming up before moving on to more structured Tai Chi movements.

2. Cloud Hands

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Shift your weight to one leg as you raise both arms to shoulder height. Slowly shift your weight to the other leg while lowering your arms, maintaining a smooth, flowing motion. Repeat for five to 10 minutes.

3. Single Whip

Start in a neutral stance with your arms relaxed at your sides. Step forward with one foot while raising one arm in front of you and the other arm behind you. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then return to the starting position and switch sides. Aim for five to 10 repetitions on each side.

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Workout #4: Yoga

Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to improve strength, flexibility, and mental clarity. It's suitable for all fitness levels and can be easily modified to accommodate individual needs.

1. Mountain Pose

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms relaxed at your sides. Inhale deeply as you raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute, focusing on steady breathing and maintaining good posture.

2. Downward-facing Dog

downward dog

Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Lift your hips toward the ceiling, straightening your arms and legs to form an inverted V shape. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute, focusing on stretching the back of your legs and lengthening your spine.

3. Warrior II Pose

warrior II

Stand with your feet wide apart with one foot facing forward and the other foot turned outward. Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle, keeping your back leg straight. Extend your arms parallel to the floor with your gaze over your front hand. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, then switch sides.

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Workout #5: Resistance Band Training

The last of these conditioning workouts to improve your physical fitness is all about resistance bands. Resistance bands are versatile and portable, making them ideal for strength training exercises at home or while traveling. They provide resistance throughout the entire range of motion, helping to build muscle and improve joint stability.

1. Banded Squats

resistance band squats

Place the resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward. Lower into a squat position, keeping your chest lifted and your knees tracking over your toes. Aim for two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions each.

2. Banded Rows

Secure the resistance band to a sturdy anchor point at waist height. Hold one end of the band in each hand with your palms facing each other. Pull the band toward your body, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Aim for two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions each.

3. Banded Leg Raises

Lie on your back with the resistance band wrapped around one foot and the other end anchored securely. Lift the banded leg toward the ceiling, keeping it straight and controlling the movement with your core muscles. Lower the leg back down with control. Aim for two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each leg.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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