Staying active is important for individuals of all ages, however it is often said that exercising is of the utmost importance for older adults who wish to stay independent in their golden years. Exercise offers a wealth of physical benefits from increased muscle strength, balance, and flexibility to emotional benefits including enhanced mood. However, many seniors are left with the question, “how often should I exercise?”
Generally speaking, older adults should aim to exercise four days a week for at least 15-30 minutes. The length and intensity will depend on one’s age, abilities and any medical conditions. It is also important to keep in mind that exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous. Walking around the neighborhood or walking up and down the stairs at home is a great way to elevate heart rate without doing anything too strenuous. We always recommend asking a family member, friend or even caretaker to walk with you once or twice a week. Not only does this offer additional motivation, it gives seniors something to look forward to.
Exercising doesn’t only consist of lifting weights and doing push-ups. Many community and senior centers, as well as local gyms, host senior fitness classes ranging from yoga and tai chi to dancing and water aerobics. Because these classes are designed for older adults and their abilities, they are often less intimidating! In addition to a great physical workout, seniors are also able to socialize and learn something new with their peers.
Seniors who struggle with mobility or have difficulty with standing exercises due to health conditions can also continue to exercise. There are a variety of strengthening exercises that can be performed while sitting down, even in front of the television. If you or an aging loved one are interested in the best exercises for immobility, consult with your doctor or physical therapist. They will be able to evaluate your current abilities, strength, and endurance to provide you with the exercises that will help manage any conditions or limitations.
When exercising, it is crucial that seniors know their limits. If pain occurs, you could be performing the exercise incorrectly or working out more than your body can handle. Again, consult with a doctor or senior care professional to make sure your fitness routine is sufficient for your abilities. Always stay hydrated, and don’t be afraid to take breaks if you need them.
While there are general recommendations for how often seniors should exercise, the answer is not the same for all older adults and varies depending on various criteria. The most important thing for seniors is to engage in safe exercises that fit their body’s abilities and to determine length of fitness routine and intensity based on physical health and medical conditions. Start out easy, set goals and keep track of your fitness progress. This is a great way to motivate yourself without starting out too strong!
For more tips on senior health and exercising, contact Home Care Assistance of Columbus at 614-481-8888 and speak with a devoted Care Manager.