Exercising and maintaining a certain level of fitness are important throughout the life cycle. Often thoughA practicethey will look different with age.
Physical activity recommendations for older adults range from building muscle and achieving a leaner figure to maintaining muscle, joint, and bone function. So how much physical activity is enough and what should an older person focus on?
This article is intended to serve as a complete guide to adult fitness, including activities for seniors and examples of moderate intensity exercise.
changes in physical activity
Although also dependent on individual health, physical activity recommendations for young adults in their 40s and 50s typically focus on the following:
- Improving aerobic fitness for brain and heart health
- Building or maintaining muscle tissue for a healthy metabolism
- Burn calories to achieve a healthy weight
Fitness athletes also emphasize moderate- to high-intensity activities such as circuit and strength training, sprinting, and endurance cardio.
However, the natural aging process causes changes in the body that make vigorous exercise less desirable and often less possible. Muscles become weaker, joints less flexible and bones more sensitive. This increases the risk of injury from vigorous exercise, which can drastically affect an older person's quality of life. For help with mobility, visitLOAIDS.COM
Therefore, adult fitness focuses primarily on low- to moderate-intensity aerobic activity to further support brain and heart health and strength training to maintain muscle mass and joint mobility. This allows the elderly and the elderly to remain mobile and enjoy a high quality of life with a comfortable body.
Exercise recommendations for old age
Current adult physical activity guidelines are for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, including 2 days of strength training. Activity recommendations for adults over 65 include improving balance withbalance exercises.
While these are generally solid guidelines, they are somewhat nebulous and difficult to personalize. In fact, exercise recommendations for seniors and older adults should be based on several factors, including:
- Current health status
- fitness level and skills
- Special medical conditions (diabetes, heart disease, elevated blood pressure and/or cholesterol, dementia, osteoporosis, osteopenia, previous fractures and injuries)
- Lifestyle, priorities and values
- weight management
Because the body is likely to be more resilient as we age, the recommendations should consider more factors than the general health on which the above recommendations are based. That is, these guidelines are recommended to achieve a minimum level of health. Rarely do people need less exercise and often do people, even the elderly, need more.
However, age need not aim for more high-intensity exercise as is commonly advertised. That's not to say that an older person can't engage in vigorous physical activity (because 80-year-olds still run marathons!), but it tends to be unnecessary and dangerous.
Instead, the older adult should focus on getting enough exercise to enjoy a full and productive life. For some, this might look like the recommended 30 minutes of activity five days a week, for others it might be 45 to 60 minutes most days of the week.
However, the time recommended is less important than incorporating the right type of exercise. See the suggested forms of activity for the elderly.
Physical Activity for Seniors (Examples of Moderate Exercise)
Physical activity and fitness can be achieved in many ways. The following examples show how older adults can meet the recommendations for moderate exercise.
- Light to moderate walking, i.e. brisk walking (20 to 60 minutes most days of the week)
- Light jogging (if possible)
- Aerobic workouts in the water (lessons or free)
- Swimming (laps and/or kickboard exercises)
- Strength training (each major muscle group once, at least once a week)
- Flexibility training (dynamic and static stretching 2-7 days/week)
- Yoga and/or Pilates (avoid vigorous and hot versions)
- Recreational or recumbent cycling
- Recreational sports such as bocce, croquet, giant chess, etc.
- Low impact fitness classes (dance, step, zumba, jazzercise, etc.)
Examples of aerobic activity
Modeit's a great form of aerobic exercise, but it's not always the best or ideal choice. Fortunately, seniors can fill their time with other forms of aerobic activity, including these examples.
Stepping one foot in front of the other at an easy to moderate pace outdoors or on a treadmill is a sustainable way for older adults to maintain lower body muscle mass and cardiovascular health while improving memory and overall cognitive function. It also reduces the risk of many chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer's and is easily integrated into many lifestyles.
Make it harder by increasing the pace, incorporating hills or inclines, and riding longer distances. Reduce intensity by slowing down, walking on level ground, or using assistive devices such as holding the front or side bars of the treadmill.
Elliptical trainers are a low-impact method of achieving many of the health benefits described above. They put even less stress on your muscles, joints and bones than walking, but that also means you have to do them more to get the same benefits.
Elliptical trainers are ideal for those who can still mimic the motion of walking but have musculoskeletal issues that prevent repetitive stepping motions, such as those with osteoporosis or arthritis.
Similar to elliptical machines, recreational cycling, stationary cycling and recumbent are great activities that support cardiovascular health and joint mobility.
Biking is also less strenuous than walking, making it useful for people with injuries or physical disabilities. As with the cross trainer, this can last longer compared to walking or light jogging.
Thanks to the natural resistance of water, swimming is an effective and gentle form of exercise. In fact, it is also considered a form of higher intensity as it can burn significant amounts of energy.
Of course, swimming faster and longer increases intensity, but physical resistance inherently increases cardiovascular outcomes. There are so many different ways to incorporate swimming, whether it's nice laps, kickboarding, stepping or aerobics classes.
Today, many gyms and studios offer classes specifically designed for the aging population. They take into account reduced intensity and different skills and also provide additional modifications for all different skills.
More advanced classes may also include dynamic stretches to encourage range of motion and static yoga-like stretches to encourage flexibility.
Many people are unaware of the enormous benefits of simply moving their bodies. Not in a constitutional or planned way, but in a general way of doing housework. This less specific type of movement keeps muscles and joints loose, counteracts the effects of too much sitting, and increases blood flow to the heart, brain and muscles.
Focus on emphasizing this type of movement on light training or rest days. Some ideas and examples of household activities include vacuuming, laundry, sweeping, cleaning, gardening and other gardening chores.
Physical activity and recommendations change with age. However, specific guidelines are quite arbitrary due to an accumulation of factors, especially for an aging population. Fortunately, there are other ways to determine if you're getting enough physical activity.
In summary, objective methods to determine whether you are sufficiently active as an older person include:
- Weight is in the healthy range and easy to maintain
- Minimal injuries
- They rarely get sick (e.g. common cold)
- Health indicators (blood pressure, cholesterol, HbA1c) are in the healthy range
- May participate in fun activities
- Can do daily activities such as carrying groceries and climbing stairs
- Generally in a good mood
- Have a good memory and good concentration
Of course, other lifestyle habits contribute to these parameters, but this is a good place to start! Have fun moving.
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