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How To Start A Fitness Routine After Retirement: A Guide For Seniors

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Retirement is the beginning of a new chapter of life—one filled with more time and more opportunity to prioritize your health and fitness. The golden years can be truly enjoyable, especially when you have the mobility and strength to do all the things you want now that you have time for them. This is where a consistent fitness routine comes into play for seniors. A little bit of consistent exercise goes a long way into aging with grace. Here’s how to start a healthy & manageable fitness routine after retirement.

Assessing Your Current Fitness Level 

Before diving into any exercise program, be sure to assess your current fitness level so you can choose the programs and exercises that meet your body where it’s at. The Sit To Stand Self-Assessment is a widely accepted self-assessment for gauging your baseline fitness. 

For full instructions on how to perform the Sit-To-Stand test read this post (Click Or Tap Here)

Sit To Stand Self-Assessment: 

  • Sit in a chair
  • Stand up without using your arms
  • Time yourself to see how many repetitions you can do in 30 seconds 

Understanding the Results:

  • 15 or more reps in 30 seconds: Your current fitness level is relatively good, and you have decent lower body strength and endurance. Continue exercising regularly to maintain and improve your fitness.
  • 6-14 reps in 30 seconds: You have a moderate level of lower body strength and endurance, which is a good starting point. Gradually incorporate exercises to improve your strength and stamina.
  • 5 or less in 30 seconds: Don’t worry! Everyone starts somewhere, and the fact that you’re considering a fitness routine is positive. With consistency, you can gradually increase your strength and endurance.

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

Setting achievable fitness goals is crucial to your long-term success. Consider the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goal-setting framework for your fitness routine as a senior.

Example SMART Goal

“I will walk for 30 minutes, five days a week, for the next three months to improve my cardiovascular health and boost my energy levels.”

Applying SMART Goals

  • Specific: The goal clearly states the objective is to walk for 30 minutes five days a week.
  • Measurable: The duration of 30 minutes is measurable, and you can track the number of days you achieve the goal each week.
  • Achievable: The goal is attainable, especially if you start with shorter walks and gradually build up your stamina.
  • Relevant: Walking is a low-impact exercise suitable for most seniors, aligning with overall well-being.
  • Time-bound: The goal has a specific time frame of three months, creating a sense of accountability and motivation.

Choosing Suitable Exercises

The best types of exercises for seniors are those that promote overall health, mobility, and independence while considering the specific needs and limitations that may come with aging. For some, this could mean short classes that are only 10 minutes or chair-based exercises. 

The important thing to remember is that a little bit of exercise is infinitely better than no exercise. Do what you can do and you’ll continue to improve over time.

Seniors should aim for a well-rounded fitness routine that includes four main types of exercises:

1. Aerobic/Cardiovascular Exercise

These exercises elevate your heart rate and increase your breathing. They are essential for cardiovascular health, endurance, and boosting energy levels. Some of the best types of aerobic exercises for seniors include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Water Aerobics
  • Chair Cardio

2. Strength Training: 

Strength exercises help maintain muscle mass, bone density, and overall strength. They also support daily activities and reduce the risk of falls. This is one of the most important types of exercise seniors should be prioritizing as it’s what helps you keep your body functioning the way you want it to. 

Learn more about why you should be strength training at 55+ here.

Strength training exercises for seniors can include:

  • Bodyweight exercises
  • Resistance Band Exercises
  • Light Dumbbell Exercises
  • Even Pilates, Yoga & Tai Chi include elements of strength training

3. Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises enhance range of motion, reduce stiffness, and improve joint health. They can also help with balance and posture. These are some of the most popular types of flexibility training for seniors:

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Stretching

4. Balance & Stability Exercises

As seniors are more susceptible to falls, balance and stability exercises are crucial. They help improve proprioception (where you perceive your body is space) and reduce the risk of injuries. Strength training often has a positive impact on your balance, but for best results a specific balance training day can make a huge impact on your day-to-day life.

What do you need to get started exercising at home? Not much! Check out this article on how to build a home gym for seniors to get some tips (Click Or Tap Here)

Creating a Weekly Workout Schedule

Consistency is key to making fitness a habit. Just remember to not overcommit yourself as that can often lead to burn out or getting discouraged and quitting. Also, be sure to avoid these common mistakes (Click To Read). Choose reasonable exercises, goals & schedules for what you are capable of. It’s best if you design a weekly workout schedule that includes all 4 types of exercise:

Example Weekly schedule

  • Monday: 20 Minute Strength Training
  • Tuesday: 20 Minute Walk
  • Wednesday: 20 Minute Chair Yoga
  • Thursday: 20 Minute Lower Body Strength Training
  • Friday: 15 Minute Balance Training
  • Saturday: 20 Minute Walk
  • Sunday: 10 Minute Chair Pilates

Looking for fitness classes for the above example? Try these!

Strength Training: Full Body Fitness & Strength For 55+ 

Indoor Walking: 7 Day Indoor Walking Workout

Chair Yoga: Gentle Chair Yoga For Aging Adults

Lower Body Strength Training: Chair-Assisted Lower Body Strength Training

Balance Training: 7 Days of Chair-Assisted Balance Exercises

Chair Pilates: Gentle Chair Pilates

Get Started With A Flexibility & Balance Workout For Seniors!

Here’s a short & easy workout for older adults designed to boost your flexibility & balance.


  • Neck Circles: 5 circles in each direction.
  • Shoulder Rolls: 10 circles in each direction.


  1. Leg Swings (Front-to-Back): 10 swings on each leg.
  2. Hip Circles: 10 rotations in each direction.
  3. Quadriceps Stretch: 15-30 seconds on each leg.
  4. Calf Raises: 10-15 repetitions.
  5. Tree Pose (Balance): 30 seconds on each leg.
  6. Seated Forward Bend: 20-30 seconds.


  • Shoulder Stretch: 15-30 seconds on each side.
  • Seated Hamstring Stretch: 15-30 seconds on each leg.
  • Full Body Stretch: Take a deep breath in, lengthen your body, and exhale to release.

Try This Full-Body Strength Training Workout For Seniors

Here’s a quick & easy workout to improve your full body strength that you can do multiple days a week.


  • Arm Circles: 10 seconds forward, 10 seconds backward.
  • Ankle Circles: 10 seconds in each direction for each foot.


  1. Bodyweight Squats: 10-12 repetitions.
  2. Wall Push-ups: 10-12 repetitions.
  3. Seated Rows: 10-12 repetitions.
  4. Leg Raises: 10-12 repetitions on each leg.
  5. Bicep Curls: 10-12 repetitions.
  6. Tricep Extensions: 10-12 repetitions.


  • Shoulder Stretch: 15-30 seconds on each side.
  • Seated Hamstring Stretch: 15-30 seconds on each leg.
  • Full Body Stretch: Take a deep breath in, lengthen your body, and exhale to release.

These are just a few sample workouts to get you started. In the Better5 community of over 200,000+ members, we’ve found that one of the best ways our members have been able to start a fitness routine & maintain it is to make it uncomplicated. You don’t need to do all that work trying to create routines. At Better5, simply choose what you want to improve and there will be a class for it! All you have to do is follow along with the step-by-step videos each day to become healthier, stronger & fitter! If you’re ready to start a fitness routine after retirement—check out all the options available to you at Better5.

Yes, I want easy-to-follow, uncomplicated & gentle workout routines! (Click Or Tap Here)