Exercise Guidelines for Seniors

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Regular exercise is important for seniors because it boosts heart health, bone density, and mental wellbeing. Regardless of mobility level, most seniors can find an appropriate physical activity, whether it’s chair yoga or water aerobics. But how much exercise should seniors aim for every week? Ahead, learn more about the physical activity guidelines for seniors.

The Basic Guidelines

As a rule of thumb, seniors without mobility limitations should aim to do exercises of moderate intensity for two and a half hours every week, which works out to 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. However, this rule has a few caveats, and seniors may want to increase or decrease the length of their weekly exercise regimen depending on the activities they’re performing. 

Seniors with mobility issues can still get the benefits of exercise, especially with the help of a trained professional caregiver. Huntington at-home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

Aerobic Activities and Strength Training

When planning an exercise regimen, seniors need to incorporate aerobic activities and strength training exercises. Aerobic activities raise the heart rate and the pace of breathing, and they boost cardiovascular health, burn calories, and enhance mood. Strength training exercises are repetitive exercises that strengthen specific muscles. These exercises increase mobility, regulate blood pressure, and strengthen bones. 

When you’re crafting an exercise plan for your loved one, make sure to consider your schedule if you’re the primary caregiver and your parent needs help to perform exercises. Also consider hiring a professional caregiver who has training and experience in assisting seniors with exercise. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Huntington respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities.

Senior-Friendly Aerobic Exercises

There are many aerobic exercises appropriate for seniors. The activities they select depend on whether they want to perform moderate or vigorous aerobic activities. When choosing moderate aerobic activities, they should try to do them 150 minutes every week. If they choose to do vigorous aerobic activities, the weekly exercise recommendation gets cut in half to 75 minutes per week.

Moderate aerobic activities appropriate for seniors include ballroom dancing, stationary bicycling, walking, water aerobics, and doubles tennis. There’s an easy way for seniors to know when they’re exercising at a moderate level: they should be able to talk but be too breathless to sing.

Vigorous aerobic activities appropriate for seniors include jogging, martial arts, aerobics, swimming, and singles tennis. When seniors are doing vigorous aerobic activity, they should only be able to say a few words before they have to stop and take a breath. When exercising at this level for 75 minutes, the effect will be comparable to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity.

Senior-Friendly Strength Training Exercises

While seniors should spend more time doing aerobic activities than strength exercises, strength training is nonetheless crucial. Most experts recommend doing strength exercises at least two days every week and that these exercises should work all the major muscle groups, ranging from the abdomen to the shoulders. These exercises are performed in sets of repetitions. Every time seniors perform strength exercises, they should perform one set for each muscle group and include 8 to 12 repetitions per set.

There are two popular types of strength training for seniors: weight lifting and bodyweight resistance exercises. For weight lifting, seniors can select light weights and work their biceps, triceps, etc. Bodyweight exercises use the weight of the body for resistance, and they include activities such as sit-ups, lunges, and squats.

Exercise is a critical part of maintaining health and a high quality of life, especially for seniors. If your loved one has mobility issues or other health conditions that make it challenging to exercise alone, help is available. Huntington elder care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. For reliable in-home care services, contact Home Care Assistance at (304) 521-2909 today.