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What Is the Ideal Level of Exercise for Seniors?

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

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. How about setting a goal that can help both you and someone you love live healthier and feel happier?

Regular exercise for seniors is important, yet not always very easy to start or maintain. One smart way to keep motivated is to find an accountability partner and motivate each other. If you are providing care for an older member of the family, you have the perfect opportunity to help each other become more physically fit! But it is important to first know how much and what forms of exercise are best for older adults.

What Is the Ideal Amount of Exercise for Seniors?

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

There are several general guidelines for exercise for older adults, and the news couldn’t be better: even a modest amount of physical activity will make a positive change. As little as 15 – 20 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (running, swimming, 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 easily be modified when necessary based on ability level, include:

  • Dancing, which helps strengthen multiple muscle groups while improving balance and mood – and, if dancing with a partner, socialization too.

  • Walking, especially in nature, to experience varied terrains and the psychological effects that come from spending time outdoors, including a boost in mood, lowered stress and anxiety, and more.

  • Cycling, either on a stationary or outdoor bike: a great low impact activity that benefits the lungs, heart, and large muscles.

How to Start

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

  • Be sure to stay hydrated.

  • Select activities that are fun. With so many options, there is absolutely no reason to settle for a tedious, boring routine.

  • Start slowly and set attainable goals. Then celebrate reaching them!

  • Include warm-up and cool-down periods.

  • If any pain or discomfort is experienced, stop.

Let Us Help!

A caregiver from The Care Company makes an excellent exercise buddy to help older adults stay on track with a new or existing physical fitness routine. We are able to provide transportation to the gym, pool, senior center, or anywhere else the person wishes to go.

We also make great walking partners! Contact us online or reach out to us at (416) 422-2273 to find out more about our senior care services in Etobicoke, Scarborough, and Toronto, as well as the surrounding areas.

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