I have been doing circuit training for the past two years. I also incorporate aerobic activity 4 to 5 days a week. My challenge is that I have a bunion so I can't do aerobic activity for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time. My other challenge is that everytime I begin to up my weights, I hurt myself. Sometimes it's my neck and shoulder and sometimes it's my leg. Because of this, I am beginning to put weight on again. I am 5'4 and weigh 190 lbs. I need to get down below 150 lbs to feel healthy. There are trainers at our gym who put together routines for us whenever we request a change. Since I am 54 years old and they are all of about 25 years old, I really don't think they understand my challenges. Can you please give me some direction?

Well. It sounds like you are on the right track with the combination of circuit training, cardio and strength training activities each week. If you don’t already have a heart rate monitor, I would suggest you get one so that you are maintaining your heart rate in the targeted zone. The target heart rate for someone your age is approximately 124-141 beats per minute ( This is calculated by subtracting your age from 220 and then multiplying it by 75 – 85%). Heart rate monitors are the best way to gauge how hard you are working.

As for your strength training program, I would suggest that if the trainers are degreed professionals and have nationally recognized certifications, they should be able to design a safe and effective program regardless of their age. Having the physical limitations that you have mentioned may require you to seek the advice of a physical therapist as well to seek all alternatives available to you. Swimming or bicycling are great ‘non-impact’ options for you that won’t cause additional stress to the toe joint. These activities allow you to do aerobic activity without the jarring impact that walking causes.

Lastly, as with anyone wishing to lose weight, it is essential that you review your nutritional habits and seek the advice of a dietitian if you feel you want further support with your food choices. Remember that the older we get, the fewer calories we require, and with physical challenges, it makes it far more important to really evaluate what you are eating.

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