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How Much Physical Activity Do Older Adults Need?

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A group of seniors engaged in a fun activity that involves bouncing around a stuffed big ball on a colourful nylon sheet.

Our physical health is an extremely important factor in our quality of life, and as we age, this becomes even more true. A healthy body is vital to making sure that day-to-day life is easier, that we remain mobile, and that our heart stays strong. So how much physical activity do older adults need to make sure they’re in good shape?

Adults over 65 should aim for 150 minutes a week of moderately-intensive physical activities, like brisk walking or cleaning around the house. If you prefer more intensive activities like hiking, jogging, or exercising at the gym, 75 minutes is enough to maintain your physical health. 

If you live in an assisted or independent living community, it’s worth looking into the available programs and amenities offered in your area, like the available options here at Cedar Creek Senior Living. These programs are run by a team of caring individuals who can help if you need it and provide helpful information to make sure you’re able to remain physically healthy.

How Much Exercise Is Healthy for Older Adults?

By actively taking care of your physical health, you’re taking the right steps to ensure you’re able to go about your daily life with as little physical discomfort and stiffness as possible. These exercises help your joints and muscles stay healthy as you age to keep a high quality of life.

For adults 65 and older, there are some recommended guidelines on the different levels of physical activity needed. These include the recommended levels of physical activity, balance exercises, and muscle-building exercises.

The CDC recommends that older adults perform at least 150 minutes a week of low or moderate-intensity exercises a week, or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercises if you prefer. Then, an additional 2 times a week of muscle building and 3 times of balance exercises are recommended to ensure an all-around healthy fitness routine.

If you live in an assisted living or independent living community, it’s a good idea to speak with the team around you or a medical professional before changing your fitness routine drastically. They’ll be able to give you advice to make sure that you can begin a proper regime that’ll bring you the best benefits while reducing any risk of hurting yourself or over-exerting your body.

Moderate-Intensity Physical Activities for Seniors

If broken down, 150 minutes of exercise works out to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. A low-impact exercise is one that keeps you moving, keeps your heart rate up, and loosens the joints as muscles without straining them.

Some of these exercises include:

  • Walking
  • Cleaning the house 
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Yoga

These exercises keep you moving, help with heart rate, maintain muscle mass, and don’t require much to start. 

High-Intensity Exercises for Seniors 

For adults over 65 that prefer a faster pace or more intensive exercise, you could also do 75 minutes a week of intensive exercises rather than the low-impact ones above. It’s also recommended to perform muscle-building exercises at least 3 times a week. These exercises tend to focus more on retaining muscle and flexibility as well as helping your heart stay healthy. 

Some of these exercises include:

  • Power walking
  • Jogging
  • Hiking
  • Light weight lifting
  • Dancing

These exercises are more challenging than the low-intensity ones above, but are an excellent way to keep your muscles strong and flexible and help strengthen your heart. If you live in assisted living, ask the team on-site if there is a fitness studio. For example, here at Cedar Creek Senior Living, we have a state-of-the-art fitness studio for the residents to use whenever they’d like!

Balance Exercises for Seniors 

It’s recommended that older adults do balance exercises at least three times a week. These exercises help with balance and flexibility and can act as a nice change of pace from other workout routines.

Some balance exercises include:

  • Standing on one foot (using a wall for balance if needed)
  • Yoga
  • Wall pushups
  • Heel-toe walking (walking by putting your right heel close to the front of your left foot, then left heel to the front of the right foot, and repeat with small steps)
  • Body circles (keeping your upper body straight, bend at the waist and begin leaning forward, then right, back, and left in a circle)
  • Tai chi 

Balance exercises are often ignored, but they’re an excellent way to maintain flexibility and balance. These exercises can help reduce the risk of falling or tripping by making sure you’re constantly training the muscles that keep you upright, and they bring the benefit of helping with flexibility as well.

Senior women working out in the gym at Cedar Creek Senior Living in Minnesota.

What’s a Good Fitness Routine for Seniors?

The best way to build a proper fitness routine that’ll bring you the best benefits possible is to discuss it with your doctor or a fitness professional. If you live in an assisted or independent living community, speak with the team on-site and ask for their help. By utilizing any fitness facilities that may be offered with programs and amenities available to residents, you won’t need to go out of your way to find an area to exercise; there may be one right nearby!

The team in your community can help you build a suitable routine for your situation while making sure that you don’t over-exert or hurt yourself while exercising. Since physical fitness plays such an important role in our day-to-day life, it’s never too late to start exercising more. 

Live a Healthy, Happy Life at Cedar Creek

Schedule a tour today with Cedar Creek Senior Living if you’re interested in exploring an assisted living, memory care, or independent living community with a focus on residents’ physical health. We can help custom-design a plan for your specific situation to make sure you get the benefits you’re looking for! It’s never too late to take care of your physical health.

Written by Lifespark

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