Exercise programs for older adults: A growing trend that can help you enjoy a healthier life!

Senior Health

By pH health care professionals

Fitness programs for older adults find themselves among the top fitness trends in the country, and for good reason! In the past, this population has really been underserved by the fitness industry. There’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t be able to enjoy the many health benefits of working out.

Before beginning a workout plan, it is important for the older adult to consult a medical professional with knowledge of their medical history. Even though this advice applies to exercise enthusiasts of any age, it is a crucial first step for the older adult.

Benefits of exercise for older adults

Exercise may help older adults improve their heart and lung health, protect their brains, and may even reverse early mental decline, a small study suggests. A different study shows exercise may help older adults improve physical function, reduce limitations (such as from knee osteoarthritis), and reduce pain.

Exercise can also help older adults with every day activities. As they improve their cardio, strength, balance and flexibility, activities like household chores, grocery shopping or lifting the grandkids will become easier.

How much should an older adult exercise?

The amount and type of exercise for older adults per week differs based on a number of different factors including age, special conditions such as disabilities, and chronic medical conditions. Once medical clearance has been gained, the general recommendations can be followed. Older adults are recommended to exercise 150 minutes per week.

It is not necessary to break this protocol into 30-minute moderate-intensity exercises five days per week, as new research shows there are health benefits from exercising as little as 15 minutes. The 150 minutes per week recommendation can be broken down into 10- or 15-minute chunks of exercise two or more times a day, for example.

What type of exercise should older adults perform?

There are four different categories of exercise recommended for older adults:

  1.        Endurance exercise (cardio or aerobic exercise)
  2.        Resistance exercise (strength training)
  3.        Balance training
  4.        Stretching or flexibility

The key to fitness is to do all four of these major types of exercise on a regular basis and to increase the level of intensity over time.

Fitness programs can range from the more rigorous exercise program, including strength training and team sports, to limited mobility fitness programs that are aimed at improving balance and ability to perform activities of daily living (functional performance). If you’re not sure where to begin, it may help to have an experienced personal trainer design a safe and effective program for you.

Be proactive

Whether you need an opinion from a doctor about how much you can safely exercise, or a specially designed personal training program that accounts for your age, abilities and goals, Proactive Health Labs would love to help you.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.