HIIT Workouts for Beginners Over 60 | What You Need to Know

Are you over 60 and looking to get into shape but feel a little intimidated by the thought of starting?

Or maybe you’ve already started a fitness plan, and now you’re ready to up your game and increase your endurance.

Well, either way – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts may be exactly what you are looking for!

HIIT workouts can be perfect even for us more mature adults.

This form of exercise combines short bursts of intense exercise with rest periods or low-intensity recovery periods.

It’s done in a shorter amount of time than most cardio workouts.

This makes it perfect for someone that’s just getting off the couch or for someone that doesn’t have a lot of time for exercise.

I have done HIIT workouts for several years, and I can tell you that it’s kick-butt and can take your workout game to the next level.

So, if you are ready to take your fitness to new heights, let’s dive into the world of HIIT so that you can learn and experience the amazing benefits for yourself!

HIIT Workouts

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What Is HIIT?

If you’re a beginner looking to boost your fitness and overall health, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) could be the perfect choice for you.

HIIT involves intense bursts of exercise followed by short periods of rest or active recovery.

It’s a fantastic way to elevate your heart rate and challenge your body in a shorter amount of time.

You can make your HIIT workout your own by including a variety of exercises like bodyweight moves, weightlifting, or cardio activities such as cycling, swimming, or running.

The options are limitless!

The best part is that HIIT workouts are designed to fit into your busy schedule.

The intervals last just 2 to 3 minutes and the entire workout should last 20 to 30 minutes, so it can really fit anyone’s schedule. 

And the best part? You can get the benefits of HIIT exercises right in your own home. No need for a gym membership!

As a beginner, it’s very important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time.

HIIT can be intense and demand a lot of effort and energy, so listen to your body and make adjustments as needed.

To make it even better, HIIT workouts are good for anyone starting a fitness journey after 60.

Regardless of your current fitness level, you can modify HIIT exercises to fit your needs.

Furthermore, HIIT workouts can be made to work with any physical limitations or health concerns you may have. 

So get ready to transform your fitness and health with HIIT workouts designed just for you.

Benefits of HIIT for Seniors

As an old gal, I’ve found so many great benefits of a HIIT workout.  It has really had a positive impact on my health and fitness.

Here are a few of the benefits of HIIT workouts for seniors:

1.  Health Benefits

Not only can these high-intensity sessions boost your heart health, but they also work wonders for keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol in check.

As someone who’s trying to age gracefully, I can’t stress enough how important these benefits are for preventing and managing any health concerns. 

2.  Increased Metabolism

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are an excellent option for all of us older adults looking to boost metabolism and fight the natural slowdown that comes with aging.

By doing HIIT workouts, you can not only increase your metabolism but also burn more calories, to help you to keep your weight in check as you age.

3.  Improved Oxygen Consumption

HIIT workouts can also help improve oxygen consumption.

By improving oxygen consumption, you can improve your endurance and stamina, making it easier to perform daily activities and keep up with your active lifestyle.

4.  Muscle Retention

As we age, we naturally start experiencing some muscle loss – which sucks.

HIIT workouts can help us retain muscle mass and even build muscle, which is important for maintaining strength and mobility.

READ MORE: Can You Build Muscle After 60?

5.  Insulin Resistance

HIIT workouts have also been shown to improve insulin resistance, which is super important for seniors that may be at risk for type 2 diabetes.

This can help to manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Safety Considerations

If you’re over 60 and new to HIIT workouts, it’s important to take safety precautions and consider your health before starting any new exercise program.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Talk to your doctor: It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have a history of heart disease or other medical conditions.

  • Start slow and work your way up: HIIT workouts can be intense, so it’s important to start out slowly and increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you begin to get stronger. This will help you avoid injury and prevent burnout.

  • Listen to your body: This is extremely important – if you experience pain or discomfort during a HIIT workout, stop immediately!   It’s better to take a break and come back to it later than to push yourself too hard and risk injury.

  • Use proper form: Proper form should be a top priority in order to get the most out of your HIIT workouts and avoid injury. Make sure you understand the proper form for each exercise and focus on your form throughout your workout.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to a trainer if you need help getting started!

  • Avoid falling: HIIT workouts sometimes involve quick movements and changes in direction, which can increase your risk of falling. Make sure you have a clear, safe space to workout in and wear proper shoes with good grip.

Equipment for HIIT

When it comes to HIIT workouts, having the right equipment can make all the difference.

As a beginner, it’s important to have equipment that is safe and easy to use.

Here are some pieces of equipment you’ll may need to get started:

1. Comfortable Clothing and Shoes

Comfortable clothes and shoes are a must have.

You will want to wear clothing that allows you to move freely and isn’t restrictive.

Also, shoes that provide support and stability will be important.

2. Gym or Home Setup

You can perform HIIT workouts in the gym or in the comfort of your own home – which is my choice.

If working out at home is your choice too – I want to share a few things that I learned.

First, be sure to find a space that has enough room for you to move around comfortably.

Second, make sure that the area is well ventilated so that you don’t overheat – I always have my fan going!

3. Cardio Machine

A cardio machine like a treadmill, rowing machine, bike, or stationary bike can be a great addition to any HIIT workout – but it is not mandatory or even necessary!

If you work out at home, you may want to consider investing in a good-quality cardio machine that you can use regularly—but again, it’s not necessary.

There are other options you can do instead, like taking a brisk walk, cycling, or going for a jog – I personally prefer body weight or resistance training for my HIIT workouts.

4. Dumbbells

Dumbbells are also a great piece of equipment that can be used for a wide range of exercises.

They’re great for building strength and toning muscles.

But if you don’t have dumbbells and you don’t want to invest in them you can also try resistance bands.

Resistance bands are a cheap alternative and are also great for getting the job done!

As a beginner, start with lighter weights or resistance and gradually increase as you get stronger.

5. Timer or Stopwatch

Timing your workouts is essential for HIIT training.

You’ll need a timer or stopwatch to keep track of your intervals and rest periods.

You can use a simple phone timer app like Timer Plus (my choice, and it’s free!) or invest in a timer or stopwatch.

6. Chair

A sturdy chair can be used for a variety of exercises, including squats, triceps dips, and step-ups.

Make sure the chair is stable and can support your weight.

A simple weight bench is also a great option!

rows with weights

Building Intensity with HIIT Workouts

When starting out with HIIT workouts, it’s important to gradually build up your intensity.

This will help prevent injury and ensure that you are getting the most out of your workouts.

Here are some tips for building intensity with HIIT workouts:

1.  Start with shorter intervals

If you’re new to HIIT workouts, start with shorter intervals, such as 20 seconds of work followed by 40 seconds of rest.

As you become more comfortable with the workouts, you can gradually increase the length of your intervals.

2.  Increase the number of intervals

Another way to increase intensity is to increase the number of intervals you do in a workout.

For example, you could start with four intervals and gradually work your way up to eight or ten.

3.  Add sprints or running intervals

Running intervals are a great way to increase intensity in your HIIT workouts.

You can do this by adding in short sprints or running intervals during your workout.

For example, you could do a 30-second sprint followed by a 30-second rest period.

4.  Include circuits

Circuits are another way to increase intensity in your HIIT workouts.

A circuit is a series of exercises you do one after the other with little to no rest.

This can help keep your heart rate up and increase the intensity of your workout.

Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.

If you start to feel pain or discomfort, take a break and rest.

With time and consistency, you’ll be able to build up your intensity and see results from your HIIT workouts.

HIIT Workout Ideas for Beginners

As an older adult starting out, it’s important to start with simple HIIT workouts that won’t cause too much strain on your body.

Here are some HIIT workout ideas that will help you get started:

Walking or Jogging Intervals: 

Start with a 5-minute warm-up of walking or light jogging.

Then, alternate between 30 seconds of jogging and 60 seconds of walking for 10-15 minutes.

Finish with a 5-minute cool-down of walking.

Bodyweight Circuit: 

Some exercises you can include are squats, push-ups, lunges, planks, and jumping jacks.

An example would be: 

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of walking or light jogging
  • Circuit:
    • Squats
    • Push-ups
    • Alternating lunges
    • Jumping jacks
    • Plank
  • Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with 15 seconds of rest in between.
  • Rest for 30-60 seconds between circuits, then repeat the circuit 2-3 times.
  • Cool-down: 5-10 minutes of stretching

Outdoor or Stationary Bike: 

Warm up for 5 minutes at a comfortable pace.

Then, alternate between 30 seconds of high-intensity pedaling and 60 seconds of active rest for 10-15 minutes.

Finish with a 5-minute cool-down of easy pedaling.

During the high-intensity intervals, try to push yourself to about 80-90% of your maximum effort.

Remember to take rest periods and allow your body to recover.

As you progress, you can increase the workout time and decrease the rest periods.

Senior Cyclists: Returning to Cycling After a Long Break

Including Strength Training

Strength training is an important part of any HIIT workout routine, especially for beginners over 60.

It helps to improve bone density, increase muscle mass, and boost metabolism.

Including strength training in your HIIT workout can help you achieve your fitness goals faster.

One of the best ways to include strength training in your HIIT workout is through weights or resistance training.

You can start with light weights or resistance bands and gradually increase the weight or resistance as you become stronger.

Squats and lunges are great exercises that can help you build strength in your lower body.

You can start with bodyweight squats and lunges and then progress to using weights.

Bent-over rows and military presses are excellent exercises that can help you build upper body strength.

Weighed sit-ups or Russian twists with weights are great exercises that can help you build strength in your core.  

It is important to remember to start slowly and gradually increase the resistance and intensity of your strength training exercises.

You should also focus on proper form and technique to avoid injury.

It’s recommended to do strength training exercises at least two to three times a week, with at least one day of rest in between.

bro curls

Maintaining Consistency and Progress

Consistency is key when it comes to any fitness routine, especially for older adults.

It’s important to aim for at least three HIIT workouts a week in order to see progress and maintain a good level of fitness.

However, it’s equally important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.

If you’re feeling particularly sore or fatigued, it’s okay to give yourself a break an take an extra rest day or modify your workout.

To stay consistant, I find it helpful to schedule my workouts in advance and treat them like any other appointment.

This can help you stay on track in making exercise a priority in your daily routine.

Another great way to stay consistent is to find a workout buddy, join a fitness class or hire a fitness coach – any of these can provide motivation and accountability.

Tracking progress and setting goals are also important to maintain consistency and stay motivated.

This can be done through a fitness app, a journal, or simply by taking progress photos.

Celebrating small victories, like that moment you crushed a goal or completed a challenging workout, can also help keep you motivated.

It’s important to continue challenging yourself as you progress in your fitness journey.

This can be done by increasing the intensity or duration of your workouts, trying new exercises, or including more weights.

However, it’s important to do this gradually and not push yourself too hard, because it can lead to injury or burnout.

Remember that HIIT workouts can be done anywhere, including at a gym, in your living room, at a park, or on a track.

It’s important to find a location that works best for you.

Also, don’t be afraid to modify exercises to fit your abilities and avoid injury.


Taking up a High-Intensity Interval Training workout as an older adult has huge advantages.

Not only does it provide effective cardio and strength training, but it also drastically lowers your risk of serious health complications such as type 2 diabetes and cancer.

By knowing your physical abilities and limitations, HIIT can give you a kick-ass workout that is incredibly beneficial, and enjoyable too!

Above all else, have fun with it! This can be key to making a regular exercise routine sustainable.

Don’t be afraid to be creative in your workouts – mix it up with different options.  There are so many to choose from!

Let me hear about your favorite HIIT workout!


    1. I’m so glad that you found it helpful! Have you been working out for a while or are you trying to get back into fitness?

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