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11 Exercises Trainers Over 60 Swear By for All-Day Energy

If you need an energy boost, take a cue from these trainers.

We've all been there before: The day seems to be going strong, and you're making excellent headway. Then, you hit a brick wall after lunchtime. Sometimes, another cup of coffee just doesn't cut it. If you're looking for a solid energy boost, adding more exercise to your day is the name of the game. We consulted with fitness pros who are 60 and up to find out the top exercises trainers do for all-day energy.

"While almost any type of exercise is beneficial as long as you're moving your body, [there] are seven exercises I swear by to stay fit, energized, and healthy," says 70-year-old trainer, Liz Hilliard, who is the creator and owner of Hilliard Studio Method and the author of Be Powerful: Find Your Strength at Any Age. "They are all low-impact, which is important for longevity and safety, yet super effective because together they touch on every part of my body head to toe. Doing these exercises with my body weight or dumbbells strengthens my large and small muscle groups as well and benefits my core strength and posture. I have found that doing these seven exercises leads to a higher level of sustained energy and metabolism throughout my day."

According to 60-year-old Mary E. Holtschneider, MEd, RN, NCPT (Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher), RYT-200 (Yoga Alliance), and a certified group exercise instructor through ACE and AFAA, "It is common during the day that we feel the need for an energy boost. Perhaps we have been sitting for a prolonged period of time and just need to move a little, or perhaps we have been fighting a cold or other mild discomfort. There are a variety of quick and easy exercises that we can do to help us feel better and regain our focus so that we have the energy and drive to move forward with our day."

If you need extra energy to power through the day, keep reading to learn all about the exercises trainers do for all-day energy. And when you're finished working out, be sure to read I Tested 5 Popular Workout Leggings & There's One Clear Winner.

Pike To Plank Crunch

One of Hilliard's go-to exercises is the pike to plank crunch to activate her shoulders, core, and spine and elongate the back of her legs.

"Start in [a] plank, placing [your] hands under [your] shoulders," Hilliard instructs. "Engage your core to lift the hips into a pike. Elevate one leg, and stretch it toward the sky. Keep it elevated as you return to plank with [your] shoulders over [your] wrists and shoulders and hips in alignment as you draw the leg with a bent knee into your chest squeezing through your abdominals." Complete 10 reps per leg.

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Liz Hilliard

Next up on this list of exercises for all-day energy is the pushup. This classic exercise is one of Hilliard's top picks because it engages various muscles throughout the body. "Accomplishing a pushup always makes me feel powerful," she says.

From a high plank with your hands below your shoulders and your legs kicked back behind you, bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the ground. "Engage the abdominal muscles, and press away from the floor to start position, making sure to keep [your] elbows soft rather than locking or hyperextending at the top," Hilliard instructs. She encourages you to maintain a flat back and keep your hips, knees, and shoulders aligned.

"Alternatively, perform an incline pushup at a higher elevation like a sofa, wall, barre, or countertop," Hilliard adds. "Complete 10 reps at a time, and make your age your repetition goal. I [turned] 70 this month, so I completed 70 pushups to celebrate! A few were done on my knees. Go one at a time, and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish."

Triceps Dips

tricep dips illustration

The tricep dip begins with you sitting on the floor with your feet flat and your knees bent. Position your hands on the ground below your shoulders with your fingers facing forward. "With [your] abdominals engaged, elevate [your] hips off the floor, and keep [your] chin parallel to the floor to resist straining the neck. Bend the elbows, hovering [your] hips off the floor, then press into the palms of the hands, and squeeze the back of the arm at the triceps to lift back to start," Hilliard instructs.

For a more advanced level, extend your legs out straight, and place your heels on the ground. Do the exercise from that position. For a modification, sit on the edge of a workout bench or sturdy chair. Hover your tailbone off the front of the sturdy surface, and perform the triceps dips and extensions. Perform 10 to 20 reps.

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Weighted Lunges

trainer doing dumbbell lunges
Liz Hilliard

A bodyweight lunge is an excellent lower-body movement that engages the hamstrings and quads. However, incorporating weights into the mix makes this compound exercise an ideal choice for boosted energy. Hilliard recommends using a weight that's comfortable yet feels challenging after performing 10 reps.

"Stand upright with one weight in each hand, hands by [your] sides, palms facing forward," Hilliard instructs. "Step one leg straight back until your hips drop in line with your front knee. Keep your front knee directly over your ankle so there is not too much pressure on the joint. Bend your back knee until it hovers near the floor, and at the same time, bend [your] elbows, squeezing through the biceps to draw [the] weights up toward your shoulders. Press through your front heel to drive back up as [your] arms extend back down to your sides, completing one lunge and one bicep curl." Perform 10 to 20 reps per leg.

Weighted Squats With Overhead Presses

illustration of squat to press

Next on our roundup of exercises for all-day energy is the squat to overhead press. Begin this exercise by standing straight and holding eight to 10-pound weights in hand by your shoulders. "Engage your core, and hold the arms still while you take the hips back and down into a squat," Hilliard adds. "Drive through the heels of the feet to stand as you press the weights into an overhead press by driving the weights up and inward until the heads of the weights almost touch. Return to the squat with [your] elbows at 90 degrees." Complete this exercise 10 to 20 times, or until your shoulders start to fatigue. Increase or reduce the weight size as you deem necessary.

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Abdominal Curls

The above exercises fire up the core. However, shifting your focus solely to the strength of your transverse abdominis and obliques helps you build up the "literal and metaphorical" core of your body, making you feel more energized and stronger, Hilliard explains.

"Sit on the floor with [your] knees bent [and your] feet flat. Place your forearms on the mat with [your] elbows under shoulders, fingers toward [your] feet, and chin parallel to the floor," Hilliard instructs. "Inhale, and arch the low back off the floor. Exhale, and press the low back down to the mat as you scoop the navel in toward the spine. Hold that curled position, and reach [your] hands up to [the] outer thighs. You are now in a starting position. Gently hold on, and keep [your] elbows wide, bend [your] elbows using your biceps, and continue to pull [your] abdominal muscles down to lift [the] chest up and toward [the] thighs and then back. Continue to curl up and back slowly, keeping shoulder blades off the floor." Perform 10 to 20 reps.

Back Extensions With Rows

Wrapping up a workout with back extensions helps Hilliard feel energized and really opens up the body.

"Lie on the floor, placing your forehead on the mat with your hands on the floor by your chest and your legs pressed into the floor extended in line with your hips," Hilliard instructs. "Pull [your] navel to [your] spine, press [your] hands into the mat, lifting [your] head, shoulders, chest, and ribs
off the mat. Hover [your] hands off the mat. Lower the ribs and chest back toward the mat as
you reach the arms straight forward ahead of the body until the thumbs meet. Exhale navel to spine, squeeze [your] back and glute muscles, keep pressing [your] legs into the mat, and as you raise the chest, bend your elbows, squeezing and drawing them back by your sides." Maintain a long neck throughout the exercise. Complete it 10 to 20 times.

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Sitting Spinal Twist

sitting spinal twist
Mary Holtschneider

"While sitting, revisit your posture so that you refrain from leaning forward," explains Holtschneider. "Think about lifting the crown of your head and having your ear above your shoulder and ribcage. Take a deep breath, expanding your lungs out to the side. Then, rotate your chest to the side and feel your spine and trunk twist. Move to both the right and left, holding your stretch for several seconds and maintaining your good posture throughout."

Standing Pushups

standing pushup
Mary Holtschneider

The standing pushup can be completed with your arms positioned on a kitchen countertop, Holtschneider says. She continues to instruct, "Stand at a comfortable angle to the kitchen countertop, and keep your elbows close to your chest as you bend and straighten your elbows. You will feel your strength building in your arms, chest, and shoulders. Remember to keep your abdominals and glutes engaged by tightening or lightly squeezing them, and control your movements so that you are refraining from using momentum. You can also try using only one arm by placing the other one behind your back for an added challenge!"


teaser exercise
Mary Holtschneider

The "teaser" exercise helps boost your core strength and activate your deep abdominal muscles. "From a sitting position, lift your legs, and identify a balance point on your hips," explains Holtschneider. "Reach one or both arms forward as you progress in your strength and balance. It is fine to bend the knees if that is more comfortable than straightening your legs. Hold for several seconds and progressively hold longer."

Lateral Side Bend With Ball

lateral side bend with ball
Mary Holtschneider

This list of exercises trainers do for all-day energy wraps up with the lateral side bend, using a ball. "While still standing at the kitchen countertop, place a ball between your thighs above your knees, and squeeze it with your inner thigh muscles (adductors)," says Holtschneider. "Reach one arm over your head for a side bend, and then reach the other arm over your head for a side bend. This helps your spinal mobility and flexibility!"

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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