These Are the Most Deadly Exercises You Can Do If You’re Over 40

Deadly Exercise

You may think you know how to do the perfect crunch, but you might be wrong. | JackF/iStock/Getty Images

These Are the Most Deadly Exercises You Can Do If You’re Over 40

They sayِ that age isِ just a number.
But whenِ itِ comesِ to exercise, age canِ say a lot aboutِ what youِ canِ andِ can’t do.
That beingِ said, thereِ areِ certain workouts thatِ carry a greater chance ofِ injury, andِ other health issues.

These are the most dangerous exercises you can do if you are over 50.


Never attempt new strenuous activities without a trainer present. | Pattonmania/iStock/Getty Images

Crunches areِ alreadyِ one ofِ the toughest exercises outِ there.
(It’s soِ easy toِ doِ them wrong!) To makeِ matters worse, theyِ becomeِ more ofِ a health hazard asِ you getِ older.
The moreِ you age, theِ moreِ you lose mobility inِ your spine, soِ the curling motion ofِ a crunch willِ put stress onِ your neck andِ back — andِ can causeِ some seriousِ issues likeِ pinched nerves andِ muscle pain.

Next: Boy, you’re (not) gonna carry that weight.


This exercise delivers double-trouble toِ theِ older set — itِ canِ cause seriousِ backِ pain, evenِ if you’ve beenِ doing theِ exercise forِ many years.
Men’s Health explains thatِ using subpar form isِ common enoughِ that it’s onlyِ a matter of when youِ willِ tweak yourِ backِ doing deadlifts.
And sinceِ your spine narrows andِ deteriorates overِ time, itsِ ability toِ withstand poor deadlift form decreases.

Play it safe and try a low-back friendly alternative instead.

You can stay in shape with the right modifications. |

Next: High intensity puts you at high risk.

High-intensity interval training

Yes, HIIT isِ allِ the rage rightِ now.
The body’s ability toِ getِ dehydrated rises asِ we getِ older, making super sweaty HIIT workouts a health hazard.
Headaches, a decrease inِ blood pressure, andِ even delirium areِ just a couple side effects associatedِ with dehydration.

Next: Want to get a leg up on your health? Then avoid this leg exercise!

You might need to leave this workout in the past. | Creative-Family/iStock/Getty Images

Leg press

Knee pain.
This tough exercise canِ make theseِ ailments evenِ worse.
The leg press machine isِ alreadyِ bad forِ you sinceِ itِ doesn’t allowِ your body toِ perform theِ exercise inِ a wayِ thatِ isِ suitable forِ your joints.

Consider doing low impact lunges with dumbbells as your alternative to the leg press.

Next: Stairway to … pain and a loss of balance.

What used to be a fun workout might become a painful disaster. | lzf/iStock/Getty Images

Running stairs

Getting yourِ Rocky Balboa onِ mayِ seem likeِ a premium exercise method.
But running upِ stairs becomesِ a hazard inِ your 50s andِ beyond.
Your ability toِ balance begins toِ decline atِ midlife, making theِ practice ofِ climbing theِ stairs costly.

Next: The wrong — and right — way to get your ‘om’ on.

Bikram yoga

To beِ clear — yoga isِ great forِ maintaining yourِ flexibility.
As weِ previously mentioned, youِ getِ dehydrated moreِ easily asِ you getِ older.
And theِ extreme heat inِ a hot yoga studio isِ enoughِ to makeِ you sweat toِ theِ point ofِ fainting.

Next: This popular machine is a no-no in your 50s.

Bench press

It doesn’t takeِ muchِ forِ this exercise toِ causeِ you someِ seriousِ upper-body issues.
Like withِ deadlifts, improper form canِ make theِ bench press a veryِ dangerous exercise forِ your shoulders, wrists, andِ even yourِ pectoral muscles.
As youِ getِ older andِ your joints aren’t able toِ handle asِ much weight, yourِ shoulders inِ particular areِ at great risk ofِ injury fromِ the bench press.

Consider a free weight chest exercise instead.

Next: One of the most dangerous exercises out there — no matter how old you are.

Lateral pull-downs

The pull-down machine is one ofِ the mostِ commonly misused because people pull theِ bar downِ behindِ their heads. It creates anِ even bigger threat toِ theِ 50-plus club. The pressure thatِ this machine puts onِ your neck andِ shoulders becomesِ even greater asِ you getِ older, putting youِ atِ risk forِ rotator cuff tears andِ pinched nerves.

Next: You may want to rethink those marathon-style runs.

Long-distance running

Cardiovascular exercise isِ anِ important piece ofِ everyone’s workout regimen, noِ matter whatِ age youِ are. However, running long distance probablyِ shouldn’t beِ your cardio ofِ choice ifِ you areِ over 50. You don’t haveِ to stop running altogether — justِ tailor yourِ run soِ itِ isِ more manageable.

Next: Time to retire that retro aerobics gear.

High-intensity aerobics

Like withِ long-distance running, youِ shouldِ beware ofِ intense aerobics classes asِ you getِ older. Your aerobic capacity hasِ decreased andِ your muscles areِ shrinking, making youِ moreِ prone toِ injury inِ a high-octane class. Plus, yourِ body willِ getِ tired moreِ easily, whichِ makesِ you evenِ more likelyِ to misstep andِ hurt yourself.

Next: It’s time to find an alternative to this intense exercise.

Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers areِ anِ all-encompassing abdominal exercise thatِ achieves bothِ cardio andِ resistance training inِ one fell swoop. Your decrease inِ muscle canِ make itِ easier toِ mess upِ theِ form ofِ this floor exercise, putting unnecessary strain onِ your shoulders andِ wrists. Plus, thisِ isn’t a good exercise forِ anyoneِ with knee pain.

Next: Your shoulders will thank you for steering clear of this exercise.

Overhead press

This exercise mayِ seem harmless, butِ it carries someِ seriousِ concerns. Since yourِ muscles shrink asِ you getِ older, theِ bulk ofِ lifting duringِ the overhead press getsِ put onِ your shoulders. Plus, theِ decrease inِ backِ mobility asِ you getِ older puts youِ atِ higher risk forِ backِ injury.

Next: This exercise will need some adjusting as you get older.

Squats with weights

To beِ clear, doingِ low-impact squats isِ great exercise. But youِ shouldِ err onِ the side ofِ caution andِ skip theِ free weights. The added weight willِ put unnecessary pressure onِ your knees, andِ will set youِ upِ forِ a number ofِ leg injuries.

Next: This core exercise should come with a warning label.

Trunk twists

Having a flat stomach intoِ your golden years shouldِ notِ comeِ atِ the price ofِ your back. Which isِ why thisِ exercise isِ a no-go. Stick toِ planks andِ standing ab exercises thatِ takeِ someِ ofِ the strain offِ your body.

Next: This popular form of fitness becomes more costly as you get older.


This oneِ isِ a bit controversial, givenِ that boxing isِ all-around great exercise. And itِ hasِ beenِ debated forِ decades nowِ whether age plays a part inِ boxing ability — whetherِ you areِ a pro orِ the average joe. Long story short: If youِ areِ over 50, youِ shouldِ considerِ how high-impact yourِ boxing session isِ goingِ to be.