Understanding How Much Exercise Older Adults Need

A senior man who knows how much exercise older adults need works out in a swimming pool.

We often don’t know how much exercise older adults need, but this guide can help.

The countdown is on to the new year, and this means only one thing: deciding on a resolution that you will actually be inspired to keep. Why not consider setting a goal that will help both you and someone you love live healthier and feel happier?

A regular fitness routine is crucial for all of us, yet not always very easy to start or maintain. One great way to stay motivated is to find an accountability partner and encourage one another. If you are providing care for an older loved one, you have the perfect opportunity to help each other become more physically fit! But it is important to first know how much and what forms of exercise are best for seniors.

How Much Exercise Do Older Adults Need?

Understanding how much exercise older adults need can be tricky. This varies from one individual to another, and should always start with a visit to the doctor for a full check-up and recommendations. Whatever an individual’s ability level, appropriate exercise is important. It improves bone density, muscle mass, heart and lung functioning, and much more, including improving mood and emotional wellbeing.

There are some general guidelines for exercise for older adults, and the news could not be better: even a small amount of physical activity will make a positive change. As little as 15 – 20 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (running, swimming, playing basketball or tennis) has been shown to reduce mortality rate by 16 – 40%.

What Are Some Good Exercises for Older Adults?

Some of the best aerobic exercises to consider, which can be modified as needed according to ability level, include:

  • Dancing, which helps strengthen multiple muscle groups while improving balance and mood – and, if dancing with a partner, socialization too.
  • Walking, especially in nature, to experience varied terrains as well as the psychological effects which come from spending time outdoors, including a boost in mood, lowered stress and anxiety, and much more.
  • Cycling, either on a stationary or outdoor bike: a fantastic low impact activity that benefits the heart, lungs, and large muscles.

How to Get Started

Getting started with a new fitness program is oftentimes the hardest part. Here are a few tips to help you both achieve success:

  • Be sure to stay hydrated.
  • Include warm-up and cool-down periods.
  • Begin slowly and set attainable goals. Then celebrate reaching them!
  • Select activities that are fun. With so many options, there is no reason to settle for a boring, tedious routine.
  • If any discomfort or pain is experienced, stop.

Let Us Help!

A caregiver from CareWorks Health Services makes a great exercise buddy to help older adults stay on track with a new or existing physical fitness routine. We are able to provide transportation to the gym, pool, senior center, or anywhere else the individual wishes to go. We also make great walking partners! Contact us at (949) 859-4700 for more information about our senior care services in Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, and the surrounding areas.