Exercise Plans for Seniors

Workout Plan for Seniors

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that older adults engage in regular physical activity at least three times per week. This includes aerobic activities like walking, swimming, dancing, hiking, biking, and running. Strength training should be done two days per week. For those who want to start an exercise program, it’s important to find something they enjoy doing and stick to it. If you are looking for a way to stay active while working with your physician or attending medical appointments, consider signing up for a fitness program offered by the local YMCA or community center. It could give you the motivation you need to continue being active as you age.

How much is too much? The ACSM says 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week can improve health and decrease risks of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and dementia.

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The Health Benefits of Exercise Routine for Older Adults

Physical exercise routine improves cardiovascular health, bone density, muscle strength, balance, flexibility, and mental function. It may also reduce falls risk, improve mood, decrease depression and anxiety symptoms, and improve quality of life. Here are just a few benefits:

•Cardiovascular benefits

Walking briskly for 30 minutes five days a week can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and increase insulin sensitivity. Moderate intensity exercises such as jogging, cycling, tennis, riding a stationary bike, and stair climbing can strengthen bones, muscles, joints, and connective tissue. These Aerobic exercises can prevent injuries and improve range of motion and mobility. In addition, they can prevent osteoporosis.

Weight control

Regular physical activity helps seniors maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that if you lose even 10% of your body fat through exercise, it will have the same effect as losing 20% through dieting alone.

•Mental and emotional well-being

Regular exercise has been shown to boost self-esteem, relieve stress, improve sleep, and enhance concentration and memory. It can also make people feel more energetic.

•Osteoporosis prevention

Older adults who participate regularly in physical activity tend to have stronger bones than sedentary individuals. They also tend to have better balance, which is helpful when trying not to fall during daily tasks.  Incorporating balance exercises can play a big role here.

•Improved mood and less depression

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that older adults who were physically fit had fewer depressive symptoms. Other studies have shown similar results.

•Better sex lives

Participating in regular physical activity has been linked to improved sexual performance in menopausal women.

How Older Adults Can Get Started on an Exercise Plan

With age comes a decline in physical fitness and strength, which makes it harder to perform everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, and lifting groceries. This means older adults often don’t meet recommended levels of physical activity. The good news is that most people can start exercising at any age. Just look for options that are appropriate for your age and abilities. Your doctor can suggest exercises that target specific areas of weakness and prevent injuries. Ask him or her what type of workout would be best for you. Then set goals and create a schedule that fits into your busy lifestyle.

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Seniors' Fitness Center

Most communities have a fitness center where people over 50 years old can go to work out without having to pay for private gym memberships. These centers usually offer discounted rates for seniors and provide free classes such as yoga, tai chi, aerobics, weight lifting, stretching, cycling, and more. You can even use these facilities to get help if you are trying to lose weight. They will likely have a nutritionist there to answer any questions about healthy eating habits.

Fitness Centers Offer Many Options and Advice

A fitness center for seniors offers several benefits:

  • A safe environment for learning new skills.
  • Access to equipment that is designed specifically for older users.
  • Help with planning an exercise for seniors routine.
  • Assistance getting started.
  • Free or low-cost classes.
  • Support groups and recreational activities.
  • Nutritionists to assist with meal plans.

Weight Loss Programs for Seniors

In addition to aerobic and strength training, when it comes to losing weight, there are many programs available for seniors. Some focus on diet only, others on diet plus exercise, and still, others combine both. Most programs include weekly meetings with counselors or personal trainers to monitor progress and encourage continued effort.

There are other ways to burn calories and keep fit as well. Consider joining a senior group run, walk, or hike. Or sign up for a class at the local senior center. There are many different types of classes from Tai Chi to yoga. Try one new type each month and see which ones you like best.

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Get Started with Physical Activity to Improve Your Life

If you don’t already know what level of activity you’re capable of, start by asking yourself whether you’d rather feel better now than later. Then find out if you’re able to walk at least three times a week for 30 minutes each time. Once you’ve done that, try adding another workout session into your routine.

You might also consider signing up for a program offered through your community’s health department or senior center. These programs are typically designed to meet the needs of older adults who have trouble exercising. In addition, they allow you to continue to develop your strength and endurance while staying within your comfort zone.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults age 65+ perform muscle-strengthening exercises two days per week. Aerobic activity should be performed daily, but no more than 3 days per week.

Exercise and physical activity are both healthy habits that older adults should consider incorporating into their daily lives. Both activities offer many benefits, including keeping you mentally sharp, improving your overall fitness level, and helping you maintain independence.  

Consult your physician for additional medical advice and discuss what activity level is right for you.  You can explore the appropriate exercise program, discuss any initial pains and consider any chronic conditions that may limit your exercise regimen.

Why not get started today?

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