6 Cardio Exercises Older Adults Can Practise Everyday to Remain Fit And Healthy
Adults of all ages—but especially people older than 65—should focus on a combination of strength and mobility exercises, as well as balance exercises and aerobic activity. However, the best exercises for seniors are the ones they want to do and will do consistently.
Exercise helps for a sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise improves bone density and muscle strength, which is especially important for women post menopause. Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline. It makes you feel younger and brighter. Meanwhile, the benefits of exercise for the heart and lungs help promote overall health and offset some risks for chronic illnesses and diseases.
Exercise is important in all phases of life, but for seniors, it is critical to maintain independence, among other benefits. When it comes to determining the best exercises for seniors, variety is the key. Adults of all ages—but especially people older than 65—should focus on a combination of strength and mobility exercises, as well as balance exercises and aerobic activity. However, the best exercises for seniors are the ones they want to do and will do consistently.
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Exercise is important for older adults because being physically active makes it easier to perform activities of daily living including eating, bathing, toilet, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair and moving around the house or a neighbourhood. Older adults should do at least 5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week, spread out over several days.
While some body changes like reduced muscle and bone mass are inevitable the older you get, staying strong and active can delay them to an extent. Incorporating regular resistance training can be accomplished with your body weight, free weights and resistance bands.
Intensity of exercise depends on the interest and willingness of an individual. One who is practicing low intensity can reach moderate intensity and eventually high intensity with discipline and consistent efforts. To begin practice, some options are as follows.
Low Intensity Exercises – Walking, Recreational swimming
Walking helps you balance on your feet. With old age and low activity cognitive abilities decline. Low-intensity exercises slightly increase your heart and breathing rate, and are suitable for older adults with a range of medical conditions that make exertion particularly difficult or dangerous. The most standard low-intensity cardio activity is walking. Walking at a slow pace during standard activities, such as shopping, counts toward your weekly goal. If your health and stamina improve, you might consider increasing the pace or length of your walks. Recreational swimming is another low-intensity cardio exercise that reduces joint strain.
Moderate-Intensity Exercises- Cycling, Hiking, Dancing
More moderate-intensity exercises are generally recommended for healthy older adults. Cycling is a common moderate-impact exercise, though road biking can have hazards especially if you struggle with balance. Instead, consider a stationary bike which reduces your injury risk. If you enjoy the pool, lap swimming is more vigorous than recreational swimming, though still gentle on joints. If you prefer being outdoors, consider hiking as a more strenuous option than walking. Dancing is also an option that you can consider, it improves social connect.
High-Intensity Exercises- Running, Hiking
High-intensity, or vigorous, cardio exercise increases your heart and breathing rates so that talking is difficult. One minute of vigorous exercise is the equivalent of two minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. High-intensity cardio activities tend to put stress on joints and can cause injuries if you don’t follow the proper method. If you want to include an activity such as jogging, try an elliptical machine, which tends to reduce the impact on your ankles and knees. Another option is hiking, a vigorous cardio exercise that incorporates muscle extension and flexion more so than muscular load.
Choose activities and exercises you enjoy
Think about activities that you enjoy and how you can incorporate them into an exercise routine such as Listening to music while lifting weights. Window shop while walking laps at the mall, get competitive while playing tennis, playing with kids. If you need a partner to keep you on schedule, join a virtual community where you can partake in fitness challenges or exercise with peers from your age group virtually, thus not being alone in your journey to good health. We don’t stop exercising because we grow old, we grow old because we stop exercising.
(Authored by: Rocky Alvares, Fitness Guide & Coach, GetSetUp)
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