Physical Activity for Older Adults: How much exercise do seniors need?

Why is exercise so important for seniors?


It’s no secret that exercise and physical activity is extremely crucial to maintaining your health and well-being, but this is especially true for older individuals. As we age, it’s natural to experience some degree of physical slow-down and increased fatigue as we enter our golden years, the overall health benefits of exercise for the elderly cannot be understated.


While there are many reasons for seniors to maintain an active lifestyle, the primary benefits of exercise for older individuals include improved senior mental health, improved senior sleep patterns, a clearer path for social interaction, and a reduced risk of conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cognitive decline.


Due to the increased importance of exercise for seniors, some Medicare Advantage plans are even offering exclusive fitness club benefits, such as the SilverSneakers program, to those who enroll in them, all with the goal of helping seniors to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle.


How often should I exercise as a senior?


Most healthcare professionals recommend that people aged 65 and older should engage in at least some form of physical activity every day, as this can go a long way in reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.


If you are an older individual who is not used to an active lifestyle, there is no need for intense or vigorous exercise right away. In this scenario, light or moderate activity is usually ideal for older individuals looking to achieve a healthier senior lifestyle.


It is incredibly important to speak to your healthcare professional before deciding on your personal exercise plan. If you have not exercised in some time, or if you have certain medical conditions, it can be dangerous to attempt rigorous movement without considering an appropriate course of action. In other words, you should always make sure that your activity and intensity levels are appropriate for your personal health.


What can I do to stay active as a senior? 


There are many ways to stay active as you age, but the activities that you may choose to pursue should depend on your overall health and fitness level. With this in mind, you and your healthcare providers may decide that light, moderate, or vigorous activity is best for you.


Light activity is defined as any type of movement that is not sitting or lying down. Popular light activities seniors tend to enjoy including playing with pets, playing with grandchildren, or cleaning up around the house.


Moderate physical activity for seniors typically include actions like taking brief walks, yard work such as mowing the lawn or pulling weeds, or even simple weight training exercises using lighter equipment.


Vigorous exercise should be reserved for seniors with plenty of exercise experience. Typically, these activities can include nature hiking, fitness swimming, sports like tennis and martial arts, dance, and running or jogging.

You can get a head start on your journey to exceptional senior physical fitness by checking out the many great services available at In Home Senior Fitness today. We look forward to assisting you on your journey to a healthier, happier lifestyle!