5 Exercises To Avoid Over 60 2023: According To Experts

Reviewed by Drew Sutton, MD

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exercises to avoid after 60

Those over 60 years of age, listen up! Some of you may not have been very active in your younger years, while others may have been very active. Now that you have reached the 60-year benchmark, it becomes increasingly crucial that you exercise and that you perform the right kind of exercise so you avoid injury. 

If you’re scrolling the internet, you know that there is a lot of information about what exercises are beneficial and which are not, but there is just as much misinformation as there are pearls. That’s why we’ve written this article on the five exercises to avoid over 60! We’re going to simplify the mess of information scattered across the internet into simple-to-understand bits, so you can start moving your body and avoiding illness and injury.

Why Is Exercise Important For People Over 60?

Just because the body hits 60-plus years doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to move and be taken care of. After all, a well-taken-care-of vintage car can still zip down the road and take you anywhere you want to go. Exercising will not only have positive health outcomes but will also aid in avoiding or at least decreasing illness.

exercises to avoid after 60

Health Benefits Of Exercise In Older Adults

Getting physically active after the age of 60 is not only going to have positive benefits on your physical health but also on your mental health. After all, how can you separate your physical health from your mental health? Some studies show that as little as 10 minutes[1] of exercise can reduce negative mood and improve overall vigor. Who doesn’t want a little more vigor? 

Along with the improved mood benefits, there are more than compelling reasons for physical health to keep the body moving over 60 years of age. As we age, some of the most common concerns in a doctor’s office are high lipid levels, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, and stroke[2]. Moderate exercise has been shown to decrease the likelihood that you’ll encounter these problems at your annual physicals. 
Among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the elderly is unintentional falls[3]. Regular, intentional exercise can increase flexibility, strength, and coordination and prevent bone loss. As we get older and we become less active, we can lose bone density which predisposes those with low density to fractures and breaks of the bone.

Top 5 Exercises To Avoid After 60

Boot Camp Classes

Individuals over 60 may want to consider exercise options other than a boot camp class. Keep in mind not all boot camp classes are the same; the basic idea around boot camps is to incorporate high-intensity exercises with lower-intensity exercises sporadically. These kinds of classes can be a type of high-intensity interval training or HIIT. Boot Camp Classes will often last around 30 minutes. Still, the intensity combined with the rapid changes in movement can lead to unnecessary injuries, especially for those not already in shape or those over 60. 

Lifting Heavy Weights

While adding resistance exercises is important for maintaining bone density as we age, the risks of lifting heavy weights outweigh the benefits for those 60 and older. Lifting heavy weights can put excessive strain and wear on joints and lead to osteoarthritis[4].


exercises to avoid after 60

Chronic back pain is a common concern in those over the age of 60. In fact, between 20% and 25%[5] of adults over the age of 65 reports chronic low back pain. Although core strength and stability are important, crunches tend to strain the neck and lower back unnecessarily. Therefore, there are better exercises than crunches to work on abdominal strength in adults over 60. Other exercises target the abdominal muscles that do not have such a negative impact on the lower back and neck and are therefore a better option.

Moves that Put the Weight Behind Your Head or Neck

Older adults above 60 may be more vulnerable to spinal injuries due to conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Exercises that put weight behind your head or neck can exacerbate this risk and therefore are not ideal. Holding a weight behind your head or neck can also put your shoulder and rotator cuff in a compromising position, increasing the risk of shoulder injuries.

Long-Distance Running in the Morning

Long-distance running may seem like a good idea, but consider how much stress you’d be putting on the joints of your lower body over time. Osteoarthritis is sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease and is often a result of the wearing away of cartilage in joints. This happens naturally as we get older. Unfortunately, things like long-distance running can accelerate the process of degenerative joint disease.

The Best Exercise For People Over 60

Water aerobics

exercises to avoid after 60

It is an excellent option for exercise for those over the age of 60. Water aerobics is, precisely as the name implies, performing aerobic exercise in the water. Sometimes these exercise sessions include weights, but there is also often a stretching component to these exercises. Performing aerobics in water significantly reduces the stress placed on joints while continuing to work the cardiovascular system. One study[6] showed that after performing a 16-week water aerobic program, the older adult group significantly reduced blood pressure, weight, and body fat percentage.

Chair yoga

Yoga is known for improving balance, coordination, and flexibility. As we age, we tend to become less flexible, resulting in aches, pains, and falls. For those that cannot perform regular yoga, chair yoga is an excellent alternative. Chair yoga involves yoga poses that utilize a chair for added support. Chair yoga[7] for the aging population may decrease the fear of falling and improve mobility.

Resistance band workouts

Resistance band workouts can be a great option for adults over 60 years of age, especially those with any physical disabilities or limitations. Research shows[8] that in addition to increasing muscle tone, strength, and flexibility, engaging in resistance band workouts can improve multiple aspects of cardiovascular health, including the health of the arterial walls.


Joseph Pilates[9]developed Pilates in an effort to create a workout routine that focuses on form, alignment, as well as rehabilitation. He suffered from multiple physical ailments and developed Pilates to increase his strength and flexibility, heal from his injuries faster, and teach it to adults of all ages. He practiced Pilates into his late 80s, which means it is an ideal exercise practice for adults over 60 years of age, even those with injuries or physical limitations. It combines yoga, martial arts, and anatomically correct exercises.


You shouldn’t underestimate the health benefits of walking. Walking is a simple exercise that can be done almost anywhere by almost anybody. Since walking is a form of body weight movement, it helps promote bone density[10]. It is also a form of low-impact, low-intensity cardiovascular exercise, Which is beneficial for the heart and the metabolic system, including insulin sensitivity. Since there is no equipment required, perhaps aside from a set of comfortable footwear, walking is accessible for most people.

Body weight workouts

When performed properly, bodyweight exercises are an excellent exercise option for those over 60. You can easily modify bodyweight exercises; for example, if you cannot do a traditional pushup, you can do a pushup against the wall or on an inclined angle. Likewise, you can squat down to work your lower body or squat against the wall or up from a chair if you cannot squat without these aids.

Dumbbell strength training

Dumbbell exercises are versatile and simple to perform. Adding a dumbbell to an exercise routine means added resistance in movement, which helps to increase lean muscle mass. In addition, dumbbells come in various weights, which means they can be easily adjusted for somebody’s strength. Plus, as a person’s strength increases, they can continue to perform the same exercise and increase the weight of the dumbbell for continued progression


As you can see by this point, exercise is vital after the age of 60. Just as important as getting out exercising is the type of exercise you choose to engage in. You’ll want to avoid exercises that cause a lot of stress on the joints and instead select exercises with some resistance while also increasing flexibility and coordination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be exercising over 60 years of age?

The answer is an unqualified yes for most individuals over 60 years of age, but you should always consult with your healthcare provider before significantly changing physical activity levels.

Are there significant health benefits to exercising over 60 years of age?

There are many benefits to mental and physical health, as well as decreased risk of developing diseases as you age.

What are examples of good exercises for those over 60 years of age?

Water aerobics, chair yoga, resistance band workouts, pilates, walking, body weight workouts, and dumbbell strength training.

+ 10 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. Apa.org. (2023). APA PsycNet. [online] Available at: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-11106-003 [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  2. Vogel, T., Brechat, P.-H. ., Leprêtre, P.-M. ., Kaltenbach, G., Berthel, M. and Lonsdorfer, J. (2009). Health benefits of physical activity in older patients: a review. International Journal of Clinical Practice, [online] 63(2), pp.303–320. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01957.x.
  3. Alamgir, H., Muazzam, S. and Nasrullah, M. (2012). Unintentional falls mortality among elderly in the United States: Time for action. Injury, [online] 43(12), pp.2065–2071. doi:10.1016/j.injury.2011.12.001.
  4. Kujala, U.M., Kettunen, J., Paananen, H., Aalto, T., Battié, M.C., Impivaara, O., Videman, T. and Sarna, S. (1995). Knee osteoarthritis in former runners, soccer players, weight lifters, and shooters. Arthritis & Rheumatism, [online] 38(4), pp.539–546. doi:10.1002/art.1780380413.
  5. Vadalà, G., Russo, F., De Salvatore, S., Cortina, G., Albo, E., Papalia, R. and Denaro, V. (2020). Physical Activity for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain in Elderly Patients: A Systematic Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, [online] 9(4), p.1023. doi:10.3390/jcm9041023.
  6. Cabdirect.org. (2023). How to access research remotely. [online] Available at: https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/welcome/?target=%2fcabdirect%2fabstract%2f19921896672 [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  7. Galantino, M., DeCesari, J., Rinaldi, S., Wurst, V., Nell, M., Green, L., MacKain, N., Stevens, M., Marsico, R. and Mao, J. (2012). Safety and feasibility of modified chair-yoga on functional outcome among elderly at risk for falls. International Journal of Yoga, [online] 5(2), p.146. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.98242.
  8. Choi, H.-M., Hurr, C. and Kim, S. (2020). Effects of Elastic Band Exercise on Functional Fitness and Blood Pressure Response in the Healthy Elderly. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 17(19), p.7144. doi:10.3390/ijerph17197144.
  9. Administrator (2023). Pilates Technique: Teacher Training Certification Los Angeles – History of Joseph Pilates – Pilates Technique: Teacher Training Certification Los Angeles. [online] Josephpilates.com. Available at: https://josephpilates.com/joomla/history-of-joseph-pilatesa-little-about-the-man-behind-it-all.html [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  10. Jessup, J.V. (2016). Effects of Exercise on Bone Density, Balance, and Self-Efficacy in Older Women – James V. Jessup, Claydell Horne, R. K. Vishen, Donna Wheeler, 2003. [online] Biological Research For Nursing. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1099800402239628 [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].


Dr. Stephanie Nichols, NMD
Naturopathic Physician, Nutritionist, Health & Medical Writer
Dr. Stephanie Nichols is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Arizona. She’s passionate about helping women resolve their anxiety, depression, and chronic stress by restoring balance to their hormones, and digestive functioning. She also approaches autoimmune conditions from a whole-person standpoint and uncovers the deeper issues through advanced laboratory testing. Dr. Stephanie assesses her patients from a Naturopathic as well as a Traditional Chinese Medicine viewpoint. Her treatment plans are unique in that they are completely customized to suit each patient on a mental, emotional, and physical level. Dr. Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences, with honors, from the University of Alberta. After recognizing the ability of food choices to impact several chronic diseases, she then pursued her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, graduating with honors.She is a consultant and nutraceutical formulator for a number of companies as well as a freelance medical blog writer.


Drew Sutton, MD
Medical Writer & Editor
Drew is a retired ENT doctor who now lives in the Southeastern US. He was a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and an MD degree. He completed his internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and practiced for almost 30 years in all aspects of ENT, including a specialization in disorders of the ear and skull base. Drew is passionate about communicating his clinical experiences and making his knowledge more accessible to the general public by medical writing.