Being physically inactive for a prolonged period increases your likelihood of suffering from a myriad of health risks. Such health risks include developing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues. This is especially relevant to older adults, who are more susceptible to diseases. A study published in Innovation in Aging revealed that age, mental health illnesses, and IADL dependence causes senior citizens to fall into prolonged periods of physical inactivity. As a result, around 25.4% to 35.3% of older adults tend to be physically inactive.
Switching from a sedentary to a physically active lifestyle can take a lot of work, but your efforts will be rewarded with benefits to your overall health. That said, it’s important to know how much physical activity you need to maintain your body. So, this article will discuss how much exercise older adults should incorporate into their routine.
How Much Exercise Should Senior Citizens Get?
The recommended amount of physical activity actually depends on your age and your preferred workouts. For example, USA Today emphasizes that adults aged 65 and above need to accomplish at least 150 minutes of low- or moderate-intensity physical activities per week. If you prefer doing physical activities with vigorous intensity, you need to do this physical activity for about 75 to 150 minutes per week.
On top of that, it is recommended that seniors focus on balance and strength training for at least three days per week. Reuters explains that workouts with a focus on balance, coordination, mobility, and flexibility are important in reducing the risk of falls among older adults. These exercises will improve your coordination and muscle strength so that you can be safer while going about daily activities like dressing and bathing. But if these types of exercises are challenging for you, the researchers state that accomplishing any kind of workout is better than remaining sedentary. In fact, senior citizens who exercise regularly can reduce their risk of falling by more than a third, compared to their physically inactive peers.
Tips for Meeting the Minimum Exercise Requirement
It can seem daunting to start a regular workout routine, especially since the required amount of exercise may seem like a lot. But you can ease your way into meeting the minimum and get help from experts to ensure that your body isn’t put under undue stress.
Consult medical professionals
First and foremost, you can consult doctors or fitness professionals to prescribe a good workout routine based on your fitness level and medical history. According to Medicare Houston, you can even save costs from these consultations by tapping into your Medicare Advantage plan. These plans often include coverage for gym memberships, so you can exercise while being guided by professionals at local gyms and fitness centers. For instance, if you’re experiencing chronic pain or musculoskeletal conditions you can tap into their Medicare membership for coverage on aquatic therapy sessions. Because water decreases the impact on your joints and muscles, you can exercise safely through aquatic therapy. But regardless of what exercise regimens you ultimately end up with, talking to medical professionals can help you maximize the efficacy of your fitness routine.
Start small and work from there
If you’re just starting with exercise, your doctor may recommend that you start with low-impact exercises to ensure that your body can take on the strain. One thing you can start with is stretching. Our article on ‘Low Impact Stretching Exercises for Older Adults’ emphasizes that stretching is the perfect activity for senior citizens because it engages your entire body without being too overbearing on your joints. Moreover, you can easily accomplish these exercises, even if you have limited mobility. For instance, you can stretch your arms, shoulders, and chest by doing arm openers. You can also opt to do chin drops, which relieve any tension in your neck and can easily be done while sitting down.
Explore different exercise methods
Once you’ve grown accustomed to physical activity, then you can start trying newer, more challenging exercises. For instance, we mentioned earlier that balance and strength exercises are necessary for reducing your risk of falls. This can also improve your mobility, helping you be steadier on your feet as you accomplish day-to-day tasks. In line with this, you can try tai chi. It involves slow movements, which aren’t don’t put too much strain on older joints. It has also been proven to be effective in improving one’s strength and stability. Similarly, you could try yoga, which is another low-impact mind and body exercise. Just remember to double-check with your doctor before opting for a new type of exercise to ensure that it’s healthy for you.
You can reduce your risk of illnesses and accidents by following these exercise guidelines for senior citizens. Remember: don’t be pressured to meet the minimum right away. Take it slow and build your routine towards it to ensure that your body acclimates. If you want to make more improvements in your health, check out our articles on Elder One Stop. Our resources on health, finances, and home life can guide you in living a fulfilled and happy life.