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The #1 Best Exercise for Slimming Down After 60, Trainer Says

This one piece of gym equipment offers a calorie-torching, low-impact workout that hits every muscle group.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

As we continue to get older, it becomes harder to lose fat and slim down. This is because aging decreases your production of sex hormones and slows your metabolism… oh, and it chips away at your muscle mass, too. In order to counteract these effects, it's important to build and maintain a fit, healthy, and active lifestyle as early as you can.

If you're age 60 or older and looking to lose weight, you have to focus on the basics: strength training regularly, eating a healthy diet high in lean protein, and getting in enough cardio. That said, there's one exercise in particular that you can start incorporating into your fitness routine now in order to slim down: rowing. In fact, it's one of my favorite activities to get in a great cardio session, burn major calories, and improve your overall fitness.

Keep reading to find out why rowing is the #1 best exercise for slimming down after age 60. And for more helpful advice, check out the best no-equipment workout for people over 60.

1

Rowing Is a Full-Body Workout

older man rowing machine
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Unlike other pieces of cardio equipment such as the treadmill or bike, the rower incorporates all the muscles in your body: quads, glutes, core, upper back, biceps, and rear delts. This makes it twice as effective compared to the other gym equipment or workouts that only use your legs.

To properly use a rowing machine, start toward the front of the machine with your knees bent and your hands grasping the handles. Then, use all the power in your legs to push your entire body backward to straighten your legs, then finish by leaning back and pulling with your arms and upper back until the handles are touching your chest. Watch the video below for more:

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2

It Improves Your Overall Fitness

older woman man rowing machines
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In addition to working a bunch of different muscle groups in your body, rowing is also ideal for cardio conditioning—and combining the two into one workout can seriously improve your fitness level. You need to use all the power in your lower body in order to fully extend your legs and hips as you row back, which helps you build up the larger muscles in your lower half (which help torch calories!).

Related: Over 60? This 10-Minute Stretching Workout Does Wonders for Your Body

3

You Can Perform HIIT or Steady-State Cardio

man at the gym on rowing machine
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On the rower, you can alternate the intensity and duration of your session to shoot for an endurance workout or a quick and powerful bout of High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT).

If you choose to row for a long period of time (i.e. 20-30 minutes), you'll increase your workout capacity and endurance. However, if you want to perform HIIT on the rower, it will help you burn more calories, increase your Vo2 max, and spike your metabolism.

Related: The #1 Exercise Injury You Need to Avoid After 60

4

It's Low Impact

rowing machine in a gym
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One of the biggest considerations when working out after age 60 is choosing exercises that are joint-friendly. If you have joint issues and/or are overweight, the rower is a great way to get in a workout that's pain-free. The controlled pulling movement works your muscles without having a major impact on your joints—and that's a great thing!

For more, check out this 5-Minute Bodyweight Workout That Can Change Your Life.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu is a fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles. Read more
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