What You Need to Know About Exercise for Seniors

A man engages in exercise for seniors by taking part in a swim class.
These tips will help you determine how much and what types of exercise for seniors are best.

The countdown is on to the new year, and this means just one thing: deciding on a resolution you can make that you’ll actually be determined to keep. Why not consider setting a goal that will help both you and someone you love live healthier and feel happier?

A regular fitness routine is vital for all of us, but not always easy to start or maintain. One good way to keep motivated is to find an accountability partner and motivate each other. If you’re providing care for an older relative, you have the perfect opportunity to help one another become more physically fit! But it is important to first understand how much and what types of exercise for seniors are best.

What’s the Ideal Amount of Exercise for Older Adults?

This varies from one person to the next, and should always start with a visit to the doctor for a full check-up and recommendations. Whatever an individual’s ability level, appropriate exercise is important. It improves bone density, muscle mass, lung and heart functioning, and much more, including improving mood and emotional wellbeing.

There are a few general guidelines for exercise for seniors, and the news couldn’t be better: even a modest amount of physical activity can make a positive change. As little as 15 – 20 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (swimming, running, playing basketball or tennis) has been shown to lower mortality rate by 16 – 40%.

What Are Some Good Exercises for Older Adults?

Some of the best aerobic exercises to consider, which can be modified as needed according to ability level, include:

  • Dancing, which can help strengthen multiple muscle groups while improving balance and mood – and, if dancing with a partner, socialization too.
  • Cycling, either on an outdoor or stationary bike: an excellent low impact activity that benefits the lungs, heart, and large muscles.
  • Walking, especially in nature, to experience diverse terrains and the psychological effects that can come from spending time outdoors, including a boost in mood, lowered stress and anxiety, and more.

How to Start

Getting started with a new fitness routine is often the most difficult part. Here are a few tips to help you both achieve success:

  • Select activities that are fun. With so many options, there’s no reason to settle for a boring, tedious routine.
  • Begin slowly and set attainable goals. Then celebrate reaching them!
  • Include warm-up and cool-down periods.
  • Be sure to stay hydrated.
  • If any discomfort or pain is experienced, stop.

Let Us Help!

A caregiver from JFS Care makes a great exercise buddy to help older adults stay on track with a new or existing physical fitness program. We can provide transportation to the senior center, gym, pool, or wherever else the individual would like to go. We also make great walking partners! Get in touch with us at 213-383-2273 for more information about our senior care services in West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and the surrounding areas.