Most seniors understand that remaining physically active will keep them happy and healthy as they age. However, even though it may be clear that exercise should be an essential component of healthy living, it is not always clear exactly how often older adults should exercise, or what kinds of activities are appropriate or best-suited for them. This month, we will share some helpful information to answer these questions.
30 Minutes to a Healthy Heart: How often should seniors exercise? Any amount of exercise is beneficial for overall health, but for older adults who specifically want to keep their hearts healthy, the goal should be 30 minutes of exercise four or five times per week, according to new research. Arteries stiffen as we age, making it more difficult to transport blood into and out of the heart, and therefore increasing the risk of heart disease. Research has found that exercising for just 30 minutes four or five times each week, over the course of many years, can keep arteries youthful and functioning properly. The benefits of this exercise frequency are most effective if a routine is implemented before the age of 65. If you happen to be over the age of 65, your exercise routine will still offer benefits to the heart and body.
Reducing Impact in Our 60s: What type of exercises are best for older adults in their 60s? Minimal-impact exercises that improve the body’s aerobic system without injuring bones, such as swimming or spinning, are ideal for seniors in this age range. These activities have the added benefit of keeping organ functions healthy. Other suggested activities include bodyweight exercises, including sit-ups and push-ups, and lifting weights twice a week. For women in particular, weightlifting has been shown to help maintain memory and other mental functions.
Maintaining Independence in Our 70s: Strength training exercises that promote balance are key for older adults in their 70s, as these activities help seniors prevent falls and maintain their independence. Resistance bands and the TRX suspension system are great options, as are low-impact cardio exercises that keep the legs strong—regular walks or hikes will do the job, and help aid brain functions, too.
In the 80s and beyond, nearly any physical activity will be beneficial for seniors’ health, but resistance training remains essential for maintaining muscle strength.
Find Your Workout Buddies: Understanding how often to exercise and what exercises to engage in is one thing; actually implementing and adhering to an exercise routine is something else. The good news is, finding some workout buddies is a great motivator for seniors to keeping moving. Seniors are much more likely to stick to an exercise routine if they can exercise with other people their own age. At Avenida communities, our Five To Thrive resident enrichment programs includes a number of classes and programs that support physical and functional fitness, one of the five key aspects of healthy aging. Plus, we offer a variety of amenities to engage in fitness activities, including a Yoga Room and lawn, fully equipped fitness center, outdoor pool, and more. If you don’t have a workout buddy now, you certainly will after joining one of our many classes and programs!