9 Best Exercises To Slim Down for Good At Any Age
Age should never be a limiting factor when it comes to achieving a slim and toned physique. Whether you're in your 20s or 60s, incorporating the right exercises into your fitness routine can help you slim down and maintain a healthy weight for good. To help you shed that stubborn body fat, we spoke with Samantha McKinney, CPT, a certified personal trainer with Life Time, who shares nine of the best exercises to slim down for good that can assist you in achieving your weight loss goals, regardless of your age.
According to the National Institute on Aging, weight management is essential for healthy aging. That's why finding practical exercises that support healthy weight loss and suit your body and lifestyle is crucial. The following activities are designed not only to help you melt away unwanted pounds but also to build strength and boost cardiovascular health.
From high-intensity training intervals to strength training and low-impact exercises, we'll cover a variety of workout options suitable for different age groups. Each exercise has unique benefits and targets various muscle groups, ensuring a comprehensive, well-rounded approach to slimming down. Furthermore, maintaining a consistent exercise routine can increase energy levels, put you in a better mood, help you sleep better, and enhance overall well-being, says the Mayo Clinic. So exercise isn't just about shedding pounds—it's about cultivating a healthy lifestyle and feeling good in your own skin.
Keep reading for McKinney's recommended activities that will give you the tools to get fit at any age. So get ready to embrace a new fitness level and achieve long-lasting results with these nine effective exercises to slim down for good. And next, be sure to read 7 Dumbbell Exercises Every Woman Should Be Doing in Her 40s.
Low-intensity cardio exercises, such as brisk walking or cycling, are fantastic for people of all ages. These activities elevate your heart rate and help you burn calories without putting excessive strain on your joints. According to research, regular low-intensity cardio can improve cardiovascular health, boost metabolism, and contribute to overall weight loss.
"Exercising at a relatively easy pace helps train the body to burn fat more efficiently, and some of the adaptations the body makes at this training intensity help your body learn to recover better from bouts of higher intensity exercise," explains McKinney.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an effective exercise method that involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. HIIT workouts are time-efficient and highly effective for burning calories and boosting metabolism. According to a study published in the BMJ, whether it's sprinting, jumping jacks, or burpees, incorporating HIIT into your routine can help accelerate fat loss and improve cardiovascular fitness.
"While low-intensity cardio is the main go-to for fat loss, sprinkling in short-term bursts of all-out effort for 30 to 60 seconds and fully recovering to a conversational pace before doing another interval can be beneficial, too," says McKinney. "While these intervals burn exclusively carbohydrate instead of fat, they're important to help teach the body to tolerate higher intensity exercise and learn when to switch from fat to carbohydrate usage."
The squat thruster is a top-notch compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It combines a squat with an overhead press, making it an excellent choice for strengthening the lower body, core, and shoulders, explains MasterClass.
To do this movement, bend your elbows while holding moderate-weight dumbbells in front of your shoulders. Keeping your core engaged, lower into a squat as if you're going to sit on a chair. Then, drive your heels into the ground and raise back up to standing, using the momentum to lift the dumbbells straight up over your shoulders. Finally, lower your dumbbells back to the starting position in front of your shoulders.
"This specific movement provides a great return on investment for your effort: it's a total body exercise, raises your heart rate, and helps get you stronger," says McKinney.
Yoga is a versatile exercise that offers numerous benefits for individuals of all ages. Not only does it promote flexibility, balance, and strength, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, but research shows it also encourages stress reduction. In addition, regular yoga can aid in weight management, improve body awareness, and enhance your overall well-being.
"Yoga itself isn't usually considered a weight loss exercise from a calorie burn standpoint since it has a wonderful effect of helping with proactive stress management, which has a positive effect on cortisol," says McKinney.
Pickleball is all the rage as of late, and it's easy to see why. This popular activity offers a low-impact workout suitable for individuals of varying fitness levels and can boost cardiovascular health, build endurance, and contribute to weight loss. Plus, research shows pickleball can even improve mental health.
"Anything that keeps you active and moving in a fun, non-traditional way can help you stay on track with consistent exercise," states McKinney. "Pickleball is a great option because the time seems to fly by while you work up a sweat."
Reformer Pilates is a low-impact exercise method that utilizes a specialized reformer machine. Carlingford Active Health says it focuses on core strength, stability, and overall muscle tone.
"Pilates is hands down one of the best ways to help improve posture, activate and challenge your core, and support the connection between your neuromuscular system," explains McKinney. "These benefits can help provide a relatively quick appearance of weight loss simply because you're standing a little taller and straighter."
This challenging exercise requires you to use a TRX strap. You will perform a rowing motion using suspension straps to strengthen the upper body and improve posture.
"The TRX row is a great option no matter your fitness level because the level of challenge can easily be adjusted with your foot placement," says McKinney. "Plus, since the back is a large muscle group, regularly working it can support blood sugar regulation and calorie burn."
Safely anchor the TRX at a high point and keep the strap length medium. Hold the handles of the TRX with palms facing in, facing the anchor point with feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms to lean back while pulling your shoulders away from your ears (your body should be approximately at a 45-degree angle from the floor). Keep your elbows close to your body and your palms facing in. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and pull the handles toward your ribcage to "lift" your body toward the handles. Keep your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles aligned before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), this classic compound exercise primarily targets the lower body, including the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Deadlifts can help build strength, increase calorie expenditure, and support fat loss.
"When it comes to bang-for-your-buck exercises, few are as important as a deadlift. This staple movement involves lifting the weight off the ground by bending at your hips and waist, standing up, and lowering it back down. Plus, it can be considered a total-body exercise since it engages your abs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, and back," says McKinney.
Check out Life Time's BREAK IT DOWN series for instructions on this effective movement.
Dumbbell Plank Rows
The dumbbell plank row combines two effective exercises: the plank and the single-arm row.
"This challenging movement involves doing a bodyweight plank while holding dumbbells, then holding the plank movement while you alternate arms to pull the dumbbell up close to your ribcage before putting it back down and repeating on the other side," says McKinney. "It activates your abs and back, supports stabilization of the spine, and provides rotational work to build strength in your obliques."
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