Total Body Exercises For Seniors [Exercise Made Easy!]

In this post, you will about total body exercises for seniors. With these exercises, you can exercise your whole body efficiently and quickly!

We all know that exercise is beneficial for our health. And that we should probably exercise more.

But when you don’t have a set exercise routine it can all seem quite complicated, time-consuming, and downright gruesome.

And when we associate exercise with those types of feelings, it’s no wonder we choose to skip it in our busy day-to-day lives.

But what if I told you that exercise does not have to take a lot of time, it does not have to be complicated and it can make you feel a lot better?

I bet this type of description doesn’t make exercise seem that daunting, does it?

It’s true that improving athletic performance for competitive sports takes a ton of work and complicated programming.

But if you simply want to stay healthy and maintain the full functionality of your body, exercise really doesn’t have to be that complicated. It’s also important to realize that any amount of exercise is better than none.

So let’s take a look at what we can do to exercise efficiently!

Total Body Exercise

Before we look at the exercises we need to talk a bit about what we need to exercise to have a healthy body.

I like to split exercise into three main categories: Cardiovascular exercise (aka. cardio or aerobic exercise), strength training, and mobility work or stretching.

Pretty much any exercise will help all of these compared to being sedentary. But to improve all of them optimally, we need a few types of activities that are specific to improve these.

For cardiovascular health, you need something that gets the heart rate up and increases breathing. Cardio is very important for your endurance and overall health.

It improves your circulation and oxygen transportation which is beneficial for your whole body and your mind. More Not to mention the benefits for your heart and blood vessels. The increase in heart rate will keep your blood vessels elastic, reducing blood pressure and preventing atherosclerosis.

For improving muscular strength you need something that challenges your muscles more than cardio. Something that you can only do for a few repetitions or minutes. These types of exercises will improve your strength very effectively. Muscular strength is very important for your health as you age.

For mobility, you need exercises that increase the range of motion of your joints. This means stretching. Stretching can be done statically or dynamically and you should combine both methods for the best results.

Total Body Exercises For Seniors: Cardio

As I mentioned, cardio is very important for your overall health and longevity. Of all types of exercise, cardio is likely the most important. As long as your muscular strength and mobility are good enough to allow normal activities, that is.

What you might not know is that cardio doesn’t have to mean hour-long runs or 4 hours of cycling. On the contrary, most people benefit more from short daily walks for example.

If you are very active otherwise, you might not even need additional cardio. Any physical activity that keeps you moving on your legs will improve your cardiovascular health.

Good examples of this are gardening, farm work, home improvement, and construction just to name a few. Just being busy for a day with the grandchildren can be all the cardio you need.

You can learn more about cardio in the article Cardiovascular Exercises For Seniors and Low Impact Cardio For Seniors.

With cardio, it’s important to realize that maintaining a good enough base level is relatively easy. But if you go completely sedentary for a while, you can lose that base levels quite fast. When that happens, keeping up with the grandchildren can feel impossible for example.

So I recommend you dedicate some time every day to some cardio with these great exercises.

Nordic Walking

Nordic walking, or pole walking, is a great total body workout. It’s the perfect form of cardio because it uses your whole body instead only your legs.

In pole walking, you will use trekking sticks to aid your walking with your arms. This activates the muscles of your upper body as well as your legs.

exercise can reverse aging

Pole walking has been studied a lot and it’s been proven to be superior to regular walking due to including the upper body.

There are some additional benefits to pole walking as well. The poles give you great support in uneven or slippery terrain. This is great for fall prevention.

If you combine pole walking with trekking, it becomes even better. The uneven surfaces, climbing hills, and being close to nature are all great for your health.

You can learn more about nordic walking and pole walking in the articles Nordic Walking For Seniors and Best Hiking Sticks For Seniors.


If you don’t have poles or hate the idea of them, regular walking is a great option as well. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and you are good to go.

I personally love walking and recommend it to everyone who’s willing to listen. Walking is not just exercise, it’s a ritual, even meditation.

When you start walking regularly, you will soon notice how enjoyable it can be. It really helps to clear your mind and it also gives a sense of connection to your surroundings.

Unlike more strenuous forms of exercise, walking at a relaxed pace allows you to think and just enjoy the movement.

Walking is also what we are evolved to do. Your body is the perfect walking machine that can walk on and on for hours.

But for total body cardio, all you need is a half an hour’s stroll around the neighborhood every day. An excellent way to see if you are walking enough is to monitor your step count with a fitness tracker. You can learn more about them in the articles Best Garmin Watch For Seniors and Best Fitbit For Seniors.


Another great form of total body cardio is rowing. Rowing is great because modern rowing machines are great for indoor cardio. They don’t take up much space and they are a very effective form of exercise.

Rowing activates the whole body as you push with your legs, texted your hips, and transfer the force through your core and upper back to your arms.

Rowing can also be fairly effective strength training when done in high-intensity intervals. For most seniors, a gentle pace for 15 to 30 minutes daily is more than enough though. If you are interested in HIIT, check out the article HIIT for seniors.

You can learn more about rowing and choosing a rowing machine in the article Best Rowing Machines For Seniors

A worth mentioning is also a similar activity that is also great total body cardio. I’m of course talking about kayaking. If you enjoy the outdoors and water, kayaking is a great option for seniors. You can learn more about it in the articles Best Kayak For Seniors and Lightweight Kayaks For Seniors.

Total Body Exercises For Seniors: Strength Training

Strength training is probably the most important type of exercise for seniors. At least if you get enough general activity like walking to have a good base for cardiovascular health.

Strength training is superior for improving and maintaining your strength levels and muscle mass. As you age, your strength starts to decline and you start to lose muscle.

If you don’t fight this process, it can lead to reduced quality of life or even premature disability as you slowly lose the ability to walk, maintain balance and move independently.

Fortunately, with strength training, a little bit goes a long way. All you have to do is to include a few short workouts in your week and you will do a lot to prevent muscle loss.

The great thing about strength training is that it will also help to keep your bones strong and even improve your balance!

With these total body, strength exercises strength training becomes a breeze.


The first total body strength exercise is the plank. It’s often touted as an ab exercise but it’s actually a full-body exercise.

The plank is based on isometric, or static, strength. You hold your body in an extended position against time.

planks for seniors

This is great for improving core strength as well as building stability and strength in your upper body and hips.

When you do a full plank, you will support your whole body between your toes and elbows. This means that everything between them has to flex and keep tight to prevent gravity from dropping your midsection to the ground.

This is what makes the planks so great. You don’t need any equipment, it literally takes 30 seconds to accomplish and you will notice results very fast.

To learn how to do the plank and how to incorporate it into a workout, check out the article Planks For Seniors.


The second total body strength exercise I’m going to recommend is the squat.

A simple bodyweight squat is everything you need to keep your legs strong and limber if you are otherwise active and healthy.

But the problem is that many people can’t perform a full squat due to a lack of flexibility and motor control.

But the good news is that once you master the squat, you can train your legs in about a minute.

Just pump out a 5, 10 or 20 full bodyweight squats every day and your leg strength will

If you can’t perform a full squat or are not sure how you should do them, check out the article Squats For Seniors for tips.

These two exercises, planks and squats will train most of your body and if you are otherwise active, they might be all you need.

But if you want to train optimally, you should include some upper-body strength exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, shoulder presses, and lat pulldowns.

Total Body Exercises For Seniors: Mobility

The next type of exercise is mobility exercises. In this context, mobility means the mobility of your joints.

Mobility work isn’t just stretching by the way. There are two types of mobility: Passive and active.

Stretching can improve both but it mainly improves the passive mobility of your joints, meaning the range you can stretch them.

Active mobility means the range of motion you can achieve naturally with your muscles. Active mobility requires muscle strength, control, and passive mobility in combination. So optimal mobility work includes active movements like full range of motion strength training combined with stretching.

Since we covered strength exercises already, let’s look at a few key stretches.

Hamstring Stretches

The hamstrings stretch is the most important stretch for many seniors these days. This is because we tend to sit a lot in the modern world and this often results in tight and weak hamstrings.

If your hamstrings are tight, it can be hard to make the stronger. To make things worse, tight hamstrings can affect your posture and prevent your hips from working correctly.

So stretching these large muscles at the back of your legs can help with many ailments. But more importantly, removing hamstring tightness will allow learning correct movement patterns for strength training.

You can learn how to stretch your hamstrings in the article Hamstring Stretches For Seniors.

If you are interested how they can affect your posture, check out the article Good Posture Exercises For Seniors.

Hip Stretches

The second most important along with the hamstrings are all the other hip muscles. The glutes, the adductors, and the hip flexors.

This is because our hips are the powerhouse of the body. They produce the power you need to move, keep upright, exercise, lift things, and so on.

Unfortunately, many people have tight hip muscles due to years of inactivity and only moving in a reduced range of motion.

So if you are only going to do a bit of stretching, I would say the hips are the most important muscles to stretch.

You can learn how to stretch the hips in the article Simple Hip Stretches For Seniors.

Also, the other muscle groups of the legs are important. Besides hips that mainly means the calves and the quads.

Many seniors also have tightness in the chest, neck, and shoulder muscles so it’s a good idea to give them some attention as well.

Total Body Exercises For Seniors: Balance

The final piece of the puzzle for a total body exercise routine is balance training.

As we age we tend to become a bit more clumsy. This increases the risk of falling, which can be detrimental for seniors.

Fortunately, if you keep active, do strength training, and also train your balance skills you can do a lot to prevent this.

Your balance skills will decline with age for several reasons. Muscle coordination becomes worse, reaction times become longer, muscle strength diminishes, flexibility reduces, etc.

But as we covered in the previous chapters you can do a lot to prevent the age-related decline of your body. But aging also affects your balance organs, the middle ear, eyesight, and your brain.

But above all, that balance is a skill. A skill that you learned as a small child and kept with you automatically through adulthood.

But your body has changed a lot since you were a child. And you probably do a lot less balance challenging activities than you did in your youth.

But with balance training, you can teach your body to maintain balance in this changed environment!

Balance Training

There are many ways to train your balance skills. The best way is to include a variety of activities that challenge your balance in your routine.

Strength training is great for maintaining the required strength levels for good balance. But activities that really require balance are superior for skill training.

This includes activities like skating, cycling, and kayaking. They all require you to maintain balance in a very different environments.

But even superior is direct balance training. This includes exercises like one-leg stands and balance board training.

You can learn about these in the articles How To Improve Balance In the ElderlyBest Balance Boards For SeniorsBalance Exercise Equipment For Seniors, and Standing Balance Exercises For Seniors.


I hope you found my ideas for total body exercises useful. I’m sure you have a lot of questions, so feel free to leave them below and I’ll do my best to help you out!

The key takeaway of this article is that exercise doesn’t have to be hard. And it doesn’t have to take much time. Especially if you are active otherwise.

A little bit goes a long way and it’s important to realize that any amount is better than none.

It’s wise to include some variety so I really recommend you include some form of exercise from all of the categories I presented.

Most people enjoy one type of exercise over others and that’s fine as well. But strive to do just a bit of the other types of exercise. Just keep it simple and make it enjoyable.

This will go a long way in keeping your body healthy as you age.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

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