Thursday, June 25, 2020

Non-Running Cardio Drills For Older Adults And Seniors

Running has been around for a long time and is a popular cardiovascular exercise for many.

However, for some mid-life, older adults and seniors in our midst, running may NOT actually be a suitable exercise nor a viable option for them.

Common reasons cited by those who could not incorporate running into their exercise routines include: "running hurts my knees", "it's too vigorous", "it's so jarring on all my joints" to "it's too boring and monotonous" or perhaps even "my doctor says I should NEVER run at all because of my XYZ medical conditions" etc ...

As valid as many of these reasons are, it does not remove the fact that such individuals are at risk of missing out on an important component of fitness - cardiovascular training - if they shy away from jogging/running and lack any substitute form of cardiovascular exercise for their bodies.

As such, as a senior/older adult exercise specialist, I would usually recommend some alternative form of low-impact cardio exercises that will still give our heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels a good workout - sans the jarring - to replace conventional running/jogging.

The following are some examples of bodyweight cardio/aerobic drills that do not involve any running at all. 

Best of all, they're all low-impact in nature, do not require any special equipment, are super-effective and could be easily carried out at home.

(*Disclaimer: The following examples are for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.)

1) Heel Digs With Chest Press


  1. Stand tall, with palms by the side of your chest.
  2. Drive your right heel forwards into the ground while simultaneously pressing your palms forward.
  3. Without pausing, draw both your right heel and arms back to the start position.
  4. Repeat the action with your left heel and arms again.
  5. Keep alternating the movement non-stop between your right and left side.

2) Side Taps With Arm Swings


  1. Stand tall, with palms crossed at the front of your body.
  2. Extend your right leg out to your side while raising both your arms simultaneously.
  3. Without pausing, draw both your right leg and arms back to the start position.
  4. Repeat the action with your left side.
  5. Keep alternating the movement non-stop, between your right and left sides.

3) Upward Swings


  1. Start in a hinge position, with your arms by your side, knees bent, core tight and back flat.
  2. In one smooth action, swing your arms up and rise up on your toes.
  3. Without pausing, lower yourself back to the start position.
  4. Repeat the movement non-stop, moving up and down continuously.

4) Side Squats With Arm Raise



  1. Stand tall with soft knees, tight core.
  2. In one smooth action, squat to your right while raising your arms to the front.
  3. From the bottom, thrust yourself back up to the start position.
  4. Repeat the movement by squatting to your left next.
  5. Keep moving right-to-left, left-to-right continuously.

5) Alternating Front Jabs


  1. Stand tall with soft knees, tight core.
  2. Raise your arms to face level, elbows-bent, in a defensive boxing pose.
  3. In one smooth action, punch out with your right arm while rotating your torso, and driving your right foot forward.
  4. Once your foot contact the ground, rotate back to the start position.
  5. Repeat the movement with your left side now.
  6. Keep alternating jabs continuously.

To get the most out of this low impact cardio routine, do try to perform the moves in circuit training fashion - where you move from one station to another with minimal rest.

Depending on your fitness level, you may wish to start with 30-seconds for each movement, before increasing the time to 45- or even 60-seconds per move as you get fitter.

As for the number of rounds/circuits to be done, once again, it depends on your current fitness. You may start with 1-2 circuits each session, building up to 3-4 circuits or even more as you progress along.

So there we have it, 5 simple, full-body moves that you can use anytime, anywhere you want to get the same aerobic benefits - if not more - as running.

Enjoy and remember to keep moving!

P.S. The above exercise routines are available in the following low-impact aerobic exercise video. Enjoy!

P.S.S. Do feel free to give me your feedback once you have tried the above routine. You can always get in touch with me at either Rick Wong Fitness or Body-By-RickLooking forward to hearing from all of you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Essential Fitness Movement Patterns For Older Adults And Seniors

As we age, most of us would like to continue staying healthy, active and useful for as long as we live.

In order to do so, and to get the most benefits from our respective exercise programs - regardless whether we're in our 50s, 60s, 70s or even more - it is essential that we include the various foundational movement patterns in our exercise regimes.

These movement patterns are not only essential for our daily physical functions and for healthy living, they are also imperative to our quality of life, and possibly having a major impact on our eventual longevity as well.

The following are the basic movement patterns that the Human Body is capable of doing and which we - regardless of age - should all be actively training for:

1) Squat

Image of a squat movement at start positionimage of a squat movement at finish position.

This is the move that we use every time we transit from a sit to a stand position, and back from a stand to a sit position. It is one of the most basic and common movements that we do every day, from getting in and out of a chair to lifting groceries off the ground. To train for this movement pattern, include squats and their variations into your workouts, utilizing resistance tools such as light dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls or simply leveraging on just your own body weight.

2) Lunge

Image of a lunge leading with the right leg.Image of a lunge leading with the left leg
This is another functional move that we use daily whenever we walk, climb up and down stairs, and when stretching to pick things up from the floor. To train the muscles used in this move, include a variety of lunging movements in multiple planes throughout your fitness program, adding on appropriate resistance as and when needed or required.

3) Hinge

Image of a standing hinge being performed.Image of a hinge movement at completion.
Whenever we do a bend-over action in our daily lives, we are essentially doing a hinge movement. This movement involves our strong posterior chain muscles, which include the back, glutes and hamstrings. For seniors and older adults, this is one of the most important moves to master as it can dramatically reduce one's risk of low back pain and lower back injuries. Exercises such as deadlifts, kettlebell swings and glute bridges all work the muscles involved in the hinge.

4) Push

Image of a vertical push movement at the start positionImage of a vertical push action at the finish position.

Pushing movements are also found commonly in our daily physical activities. They can be divided into 2 main groups: horizontal pushing (eg. pushing a heavy sofa against a wall) and vertical pushing (placing an object onto a high shelf). Resistance exercises such as push-ups and shoulder presses (as seen above) are examples of horizontal and vertical pushing moves respectively.

5) Pull

Image of a horizontal pulling movement at the start position.Image of a horizontal pulling movement at the finish position.

Pulling movements are the exact counter-opposite of pushing movements. They are seen in day-to-day activities like: shutting a door from the inside a car, lifting a suitcase off the ground, or when lifting an object off a high shelf. To work the 'pulling muscles' in this movement pattern, use moves such as bent-over rows, upright rows, pull-ups and pull-downs in your strength-training workouts.

6) Rotate

Image of a rotational move to the rightImage of a rotational move to the left.

Rotation is another common function of the human body. Whenever we reach across our bodies, swing a golf club, wield a tennis racket, or simply twist to a side, we are using the rotational muscles of our core. To work this highly functional move, include some twisting and rotational exercises into your exercise routine.

7) Carry

Image of a carry movement at the start.Image of a carry movement at the finish

Carrying objects from one point to another - whether they are grocery bags, luggage, trash bags, potted plants, toolboxes etc - is also a fundamental part in most of our daily lives. This single movement involves not only our walking gait, but also calls into play our grip strength, core stability and a whole host of other muscle groups. It also challenges our capacity to perform physical work in the real-world. To train our bodies for such loaded carries, include exercises such as farmer's walk, suitcase carry and overhead carry into your workouts.


To stay functionally-fit, healthy and mobile as we age, it is essential that we include the various foundational fitness movement patterns into our workout routines.

For more personalized guidance and individualized instructions on the above, do feel free to contact me at the following: