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Women's Fitness

Exercise Options at 60

Women over age 60 can look and feel years younger by performing exercises that burn fat, reduce coronary risk factors, increase stamina and flexibility and maintain bone and muscle strength.

Aerobic Activity for Weight Loss

Unfortunately, gaining weight and the inability to lose weight increases after age 60. Aging leads to loss of muscle mass, which, in turn, slows down your body's metabolic rate, adding unwanted pounds. Aerobic activity ramps up your heart rate, burns fat and promotes cardiovascular health. If you haven't done so already, start with 30 minutes daily of any cardio exercise. Brisk walking, tennis, swimming, biking and dancing fit the bill, but get an all-clear from your physician first.

Developing Muscle Strength

Muscles not only tend to lose strength and flexibility but also take longer to respond in your 60s than in your 20s. As your muscles shrink and lose mass, they lose tone and become stiff and sore. Routine tasks, such as opening jars or carrying grocery bags, may become more difficult as you hit your 60s. Strength training can help retain and maintain lost muscle, improve your metabolism and ward off obesity and diabetes -- significant health issues for women over age 60. Low-impact strength training exercises with light dumbbells or ankle weights, including repetitive arm raises and side leg raises are recommended.

Joint Stretches

Generally, as women age, changes in tendons and ligaments occur, decreasing flexibility and restricting joint movements. Decreased joint range of motion can impede your ability to perform simple tasks, including walking, writing, housekeeping and even breathing. It is suggested to do a variety of basic stretching exercises such as head and shoulder rolls, wrist and ankle circles and movements that mimic chopping wood.

Bone Building Exercises

As the aging process progresses, bones lose mass, density and mineral content, becoming fragile and more prone to fractures.Menopause can cause a significant drop in estrogen, hastening the loss of bone mass by up to 20 percent. With a reduction of bone mass, osteoporosis can develop, leading to hip fractures and a slumped back in women. To reduce bone deterioration, it is recommended two to three 30-minute workouts weekly of resistance training exercises with 10- to 20-lb. weights, including biceps curls, lunges and knee raises. For vitamin D's extra bone-building boost, try exercising in the sunshine .

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