By Mary Myers | Published: August 25, 2015 | Last Updated: September 30, 2015 Everyone, young and old, wants to lose weight and get in shape these days. Most exercise routines and fitness machines tend to focus on the younger generations, while leaving the seniors behind. However, the elderly still have the need to exercise and get into better shape, and sometimes this is doctor ordered. There are some great exercises for seniors out there, and seniors can have a safe, fun and effective workout routine that will get them healthier, happier and able to live longer. Before starting anything, I recommend talking to your doctor to make sure that it is safe for you to exercise. This is true for everyone, but especially seniors. Another thing you need to do before you begin exercising is learn to monitor your heart rate. Your heart grows old right along with the rest of your body, and it needs to be taken care of. Most gyms will give you a free consultation with a personal trainer, and they have machines that calculate your resting heart rate and what rate is safe to go up to. After that, you can go out and exercise for free, while stopping every now and again to monitor your heart rate. When your heart starts beating at an unhealthy rate, just slow down. There are many things that seniors can do to become more fit, but the number one would be stretching. As you grow older, your body becomes less and less flexible and grows more stiff and incapable of movement. Before you start any type of exercise, you want to protect yourself from injury by stretching to help your body become more flexible. Stretch before and after exercising, with an emphasis on afterwards. If you do not stretch after working out, your body will be more likely to seize up and become very sore later the next day. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for seniors. It is low impact, easy on the body, and it is an activity that everyone is used to doing. It is still important to stretch after walking though; don’t think you can get away with not stretching, just because your body is already used to it! I would recommend some light strength training for seniors as well. This doesn’t mean lifting weights and body building – don’t worry! You can still achieve good results without buying weights. If this type of exercise is new to you, it is best to start out slowly. Sit in a straight-backed chair and place your feet firmly on the ground. Then, lift your arms up until both palms are facing you. Slowly put them back down. (Just pretend you are lifting weights.) As you feel your arms getting stronger, you can use resistance during this exercise. You can also stick your arm straight out beside you and push them up and down slowly. This will help build strength in your shoulders and upper arms. Balance exercises are great for seniors because they strengthen the core and make falls less likely to happen. These exercises can all be performed at home while holding onto your kitchen table: Keep your back straight while slowly lifting one leg behind you. Repeat 8-10 times. Then, slowly bring one leg into your chest. Repeat 8-10 times. Bend forward at a 45 degree angle and slowly bring one leg up behind you. Repeat 8-10 times. These exercises will improve your balance.