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!

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