When you hear the word “exercise,” you may think of running, road biking, swimming, and other high-cardio activities. While these activities were fun when you were 16, they may be dangerous now that you are 65 or older.

If you are looking for exercises that will help you break a sweat without breaking a bone, here are seven safe activities for seniors that will get your heart pumping.


  1. Toe Lifts

Sitting for long periods of time puts you at a greater risk for blood clots. If possible, take a break from sitting and spend time working out your lower leg muscles. Toe lifts are an excellent exercise that can increase your calf muscles and your balance. 

How They Work

Hold on to the back of a chair, a countertop, a table, or another sturdy object for support. Begin to lift up on your toes up so that your heels come off the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then slowly bring your heels back to the floor. Repeat this exercise nine to 30 times. 

Make It Harder

Hold two dumbbell weights (one in each hand) as you lift up on your toes. Start with three pounds in each hand and increase the weight from there.


  1. Wall Push-Ups

The standard push-up is an excellent way to strengthen your shoulders and arms, but it can be extremely challenging for many. That’s where wall push-ups come in. Wall push-ups are easier than the standard push-up and still strengthen your muscles.

How They Work

Stand about a foot away from a wall. Put your palms against the wall with your fingers pointing up and your arms slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your elbows as you would if you were doing a standard push-up. Bring your head close to the wall and then push your body away from the wall. Your feet should not move during the entire exercise. Repeat nine times. 

Make Them Harder

If you are able to perform multiple reps of wall push-ups, try incorporating single wall push-ups into your exercise. Start with five push-ups on each arm. 

  1. Single-Leg Stance

According to NCOA, one in four American seniors fall each year. If you have fallen in the past or have a fear of falling, performing exercises that increase your balance can stabilize your body and reduce your worries. Single leg stances can help increase your balance and prevent future falls. 

How They Work

Stand next to a chair, counter, or any other stable object for extra support if needed. Place both feet side by side on the floor. Lift up one leg and hold your stance for 10 seconds. Slowly place your leg down and repeat the exercise with the other leg. Perform the exercise five times on both legs.

Increase the Intensity

Hold a dumbbell, kettlebell, or any other heavy object with both hands as you balance on one leg. Start with a smaller weight and increase the weight from there.


  1. Standing Rear Leg Raises

If you feel like you have mastered single leg raises, try standing rear leg raises. This type of exercise helps strengthen your core, glutes, and hamstrings while increasing your balance. 

How They Work

Hold on to a chair, counter, or stable object and stand with both feet on the floor. Raise one leg behind you, squeezing your glutes. Make sure that you do not bend forward at your hips or raise your leg so far back that you feel pressure on your lower back. Repeat the exercise nine times and then switch legs. 

Make It Harder

Strap an ankle weight to both ankles and perform the exercise eight times on each leg.


  1. Walking

Walking is not only free, but it’s also easy to do. Grab a pair of comfortable shoes and reap the benefits of a nice stroll. Some of these include burning calories, strengthening your heart, and lowering your blood sugar. 

Make It Harder

Walk at an incline. Find a gradual hill in your neighborhood or set a treadmill to a moderate incline. This can help you break a sweat faster and tone your glutes and calves.

  1. Shoulder Blade Squeeze

This exercise helps strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades, stretch your chest, and improve your posture.

How It Works

You can perform this exercise sitting or standing. Place your arms at your sides and relax your shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for five seconds. Relax your shoulders and repeat nine times.

  1. Abdominal Contractions

You don’t have to do a full sit-up to strengthen your abs. Abdominal contractions won’t hurt your back as a crunch or sit-up would, but they’ll still give you the ab workout you want. 

How They Work

Lie on the floor or a bed. Take a deep breath and tighten your abdominals, holding for three to five seconds. Release the contraction and repeat nine times.

If you want to increase your fitness level, the seven exercises above can help you safely reach your fitness goals. Incorporate them all to achieve a long and intense workout, or choose a few and increase your number of reps for a quick but challenging session. 


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