7-Minute Workout? Appropriate After Fifty?

7-Minute Workout? Appropriate After Fifty?

08-1. Keep wrists flatI’m always trying to find time-efficient ways to make exercising when you’re over fifty work for those who may also have osteoporosis or osteopenia.

In my May-June 2013 American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal, there was an excellent article about 12 exercises done in 7 minutes entitled, “High Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment.” This type of exercise training, often called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is very popular.

An entire workout in 7 minutes sounds like a winner! People are getting results with HIIT, which gets attention because in our too-busy lives, lack of time is one of the main reasons for not exercising. But, like its name, it’s intense and isn’t for everyone.

Over Fifty? Adapt and Ease Into New Exercise Program

I saw the 7-Minute Workout again today, this time on WebMD. When I see an exercise routine like this, I look at it through my own rose colored glasses of exercising at age 64, as well as my experience as a personal trainer to women over fifty. I’ve seen that once a person is in their middle years or older, it behooves them to ease into any kind of exercise program, making it reasonable and balanced for their age and fitness.

The fitness level of my class participants and personal training clients range from never having “exercised” to being very fit. One of these fit-for-quite-sometime class participants read the New York Times article on those 12 exercises, entitled “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout” and gave it a try, two times in a row. 7 minutes didn’t seem like enough to her!

I must tell you that she is no wimp!  She is a very fit 69-year-old who swims laps several times a week, walks daily, strength trains twice a week in my class, and tends a huge garden.

Her response to the 7-Minute Workout? “I would never do that again. The cool thing was that I could do it, but it was way too fast and rigorous with no pausing to recover. It was not a proper workout with enough warm-up, recovery time between exercises, or cool-down. I got very, very sore.” Maybe it was doing the workout twice that made her that sore, who knows!?

When I look at those 12 exercises, I shudder when I think of my over-fifty peers jumping in and doing them with abandon. The risk of injury is too high. Adaptation is the name of the game after fifty, believe me! Have any of you tried the 7-minute workout? I’d love to hear how it went for you. Thanks!

Tomorrow, I’ll give you tips on how to modify those 12 exercises or suggest alternative moves. Stay tuned!




Comments (Scroll to the bottom to leave your comment)

  1. That is exactly what I was thinking about the 7 min workout Susie. Of course I like being agreed with, especially by someone with your credentials. No I have not tried it because I am fully satisfied with doing your 2 exercise DVD’s. I also love making up my own aerobic dances to music I recorded on my IPOD—–as soon as my husband leaves the house for his morning walk (:
    I incorporate some of your warm-up moves. I turned 70 in July but am more fit than I was before we started to work out “together”.
    I am looking forward to your third DVD. Donna Kelley

  2. I have been doing this routine on occasion ever since the article appeared in the NYTimes. I have it printed out but now just have to give it a glance to remember the sequence. I am 70, still working a rather physically demanding retail job, and work out at the Y and do lots of long trail walks. I find this workout gets my heart going, works up a lather, and is just about right for me. I do modified pushups:)

  3. Thanks, Donna! It’s nice to hear that you’re keeping up with “our” strength training. How perfect to do aerobic dancing as well – a fun way to build agility, heart health, and happiness.

  4. Congratulations on the 7-minute workout being just about right for you! I knew that there would be some folks out there for whom it would work. Your exercise routine and job are serving you well, creating a basis for more intense workouts. Careful of your knees, though, on that chair stand! A lower step that doesn’t put your knee at a right angle will still do the job. Thanks for your response!

  5. I am a 71-year old who began the 7-minute workout a few weeks ago. My usual exercise is walking, outside biking, and Pilates on the reformer I find this workout to be very demanding but so far, so good. Stepping up on a chair is the hardest exercise for me. I only do the circuit once though; I’m fried by then!

  6. Ginny, way to go! It looks like you have a good base of fitness to make the 7-minute workout possible for you. Keep up the good work!

  7. im a male 74 yrs old still working i do the 7 min workout mon wed fri 6 in the morning only one rep took some getting use to im a electrician and it has really helped on the job just start out slow good luck

  8. I’m 63, obese, pre-diabetic, severe cerebral artherosclerosis, LAD, aneurysm of ascending aorta, end stage arthritis in hands, feet and one ankle. Serious balance problems. I’m working with a doctor on my weight. She put the 7-minute workout on a list of things for me to check out and try. I would be terrified of trying to do that at that speed, especially since I live alone. Walking is a bit hard because of the severity of the arthritis. I need something geared more for seniors with reduced ability in some areas.

  9. My very best suggestion would be to get a referral from your doctor to a physical therapist who could work with you, one-on-one. The PT could develop an exercise program, specific to you, that will work around your health issues and help build healthy, balanced, and strong muscles. A good physical therapist can do wonders. PT should be covered by insurance and is worth the time and effort.
    Best wishes!

  10. Thanks for your reply, Richard, and good tip to start out slowly!

  11. My husband and I, 66 and 58 respectively, started the 7 minute science workout in March this year. First few day were really hard for me, usually walking 1/4 mile when I need a break, but then it got better so I could do it, was getting in shape and walking 2 miles a day. An improvement for me. Then end of April I started having pain in elbows and joints, actually was unable to hoe my small garden peach. So I started to modify push ups and chair dips. My husband also has had to modify push ups dips and push up rotations to reduce stress on joints. Everything else overall works pretty well for him. I also developed knee issues in these later weeks so am just taking it easy and actually guarding. Taking longer beaks between workouts.

  12. Anita, with all of the joint issues you’re both experiencing, you might work with a trainer or physical therapist who could develop a strengthening program easier on the joints.
    Best wishes,