Getting regular exercise is just as important in your older years as it was in your younger years. As an older adult, you can enjoy the mental and physical health benefits associated with exercise. This includes weight maintenance, improving your quality of sleep, boosting your self-confidence and mood, reducing your risk of falls and minimizing the impact of chronic diseases and illnesses. Exercise allows you to hold on to their independence longer. Always consult your doctor before starting a regular exercise routine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people of 65 years and older perform at least 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise a week. Cardio lessens fatigue and improves your endurance, which is important during daily activities, such as doing errands and cleaning the house. It includes exercises that increase your heart rate to the point where you can still converse, but not sing a song. For instance, go for a walk or swim, ride a bike, dance, row or playing a game of tennis. You can even split up your exercise over the day. For instance, exercise 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon and 10 minutes in the early evening. This equals 30 minutes, and in five days this accumulates to the recommended 150 minutes.
As you age, you lose bone mass as muscle tissue, which can affect your weight, balance and strength, and increase your risk of fractures and chronic conditions, such as osteoporosis. Opening jars, lifting heavy objects and getting out of a car might get more challenging. Fortunately, you can combat this with strength training. The CDC suggests working your large muscles against resistance on at least two days of the week. Use dumbbells, weightlifting machines, exercise bands or your body weight for resistance. Weighted objects that fit in your hand, such as a bottle of water or a can of food can also double as a weight. Start with one set of eight to 12 repetitions, and as you get stronger, slowly add two more sets.
Balance and Flexibility
In your older years, balance and flexibility exercises can improve your posture, prevent falls, keep you limber and improve your range of motion. You’ll still find it easy to tie your shoes, play with your grand kids and turn your head while driving. Consider taking a yoga or tai-chi class that’s geared toward older adults.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Exercise Do Older Adults need?
Helpguide.org: Exercise and Fitness Over 50
MedicineNet.com: Senior Exercise