With the rising awareness about physical fitness and its effect of the mind and body, everyone including those above 60 has started paying attention to their daily exercise routine. Physical exercise can benefit anyone at any age, including people nearing or over 60 years of age.

This post shares the ways exercise can benefit seniors.

It reduces body fat percentage.  The right combination of weight training (anaerobic) and cardiovascular movements can burn body fat more quickly.

It increases lean muscle mass.  As fat melts away, muscles strengthen. Leaner body mass reduces chance of sickness and disease. This is increasingly important as you age.

Diabetes risk declines.  Regular aerobic exercise keeps the weight off and reduces chance of developing diabetes. An active lifestyle can even reverse symptoms as long as the disease has not advanced too far.

Risk of heart disease lowers.  The right fitness routine can keep the heart, arteries and veins working properly. Risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular failure dramatically reduces regardless of age.

Exercise elevates mood.  During physical activity, natural endorphins flow through the body and mind. This can give you an extra boost to work out or do more throughout the day.

It keeps the body flexible.  It could even prevent arthritis, aches and pains, and bone problems.

You experience maximum benefit if you make exercise a priority before noticing a health issue actually occurring. However, conditions could improve even if a person has never lived an active lifestyle.

Physical activity keeps the bones strong.  It prevents bone fractures and alleviates pain or weakness. Keeping active lubricates the joints, too.

Seniors feel more self-sufficient.  If they participate in fast-paced activities, they remain healthy enough to take care of themselves.

It prevents cancer.  Regular exercise improves the body’s ability to fight against disease. As a result, it stops all kinds of terminal health conditions.

Signs of wrinkles appear much slower.  Aerobic activity and muscle-toning repetitions keep the skin looking young. That’s why many older adults have very few wrinkles even though they never underwent plastic surgery.

How Much Exercise Do Seniors Need?
Participating in a variety of physical movements ensures that the body remains fit. Aerobic repetitions work the cardiovascular system while anaerobic routines sculpt the muscles.

Here’s a suggested weekly fitness plan for seniors, though you should consult with a personal trainer to ensure it’s the right plan for you.

150 minutes of moderate-paced aerobics plus muscle-building sessions – This includes brisk walking, cycling, ballroom dancing, pushing a lawn mower, or swimming. This is a typical workout routine for beginners.

75 minutes of vigorous exercise – Running, uphill hiking, fast-paced dancing and tennis are examples of more intense exercise that increase heart rate. People often include these into their weekly fitness schedule in order to make working out more fun.

Various muscle-strengthening movements — Most people see results after incorporating resistance and weight training into their sessions at least two days per week. Performing squats or crunches and lifting weights can improve muscle condition. Yoga, push-ups, pull-ups, or stair climbing can also build up the muscles.

How to Get Started
It’s best if you start with exercises and activities that you enjoy the most. Create a weekly fitness schedule that you resonate with and adjust as needed along the way.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michelle Holincheck, FNP