6 Essential Exercise Guidelines for Older Adults

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Older Adults Hiking

When seniors lead sedentary lifestyles, they increase the risk of becoming overweight and developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions. However, it’s never too late to start becoming more active. The following guidelines can help older adults along the journey.

1. Consult a Physician

Older adults with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or other medical conditions should consult with their physicians before starting new physical fitness regimens. Some seniors may need medication alterations based on their specific medical conditions.  If you’re concerned about your loved one’s ability to exercise safely, consider hiring an at-home caregiver to provide assistance. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea senior care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

2. Get Started

Seniors can become more physically fit by choosing activities that are pleasurable. It’s important to start slowly and remember that every minute counts. Just 10 minutes of activity performed at different times each day can make a difference. Older adults might want to consider inviting friends or family members to join their activities. The combination of exercise and socialization provides twice the benefits.

3. Respect Body Cues

Certain physical impairments, disorders, and medical conditions may make physical activity difficult, especially at first. Seniors must not push their bodies beyond safe limits, and when feeling fatigued or overheated, they should take breaks. Breathing difficulty may indicate respiratory or cardiac issues, so seniors who experience this symptom should stop and try again in the next day or two and bring water or juice along to stay hydrated.  If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, a professional caregiver can take over for you. Galt Ocean Mile respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

4. Allow Recovery Time

An older body is more likely to experience injury if it’s pushed to the limit. Moderate or strenuous exercise commonly creates microscopic tears in soft tissue. Older adults’ bodies need more time to repair themselves. Seniors should take a day or two between exercise routines to give their bodies time to make necessary repairs.

5. Set Goals

Seniors are advised to get a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderately strenuous physical activity each week. However, when beginning activity regimens, older adults need to engage in activities that are beneficial without being overly ambitious. As a senior’s fitness level increases, exercise may become more intense. It’s best to start with a light activity and strive to accomplish 150 minutes weekly before moving to the next level. Light activities include:
  • Walking around the house
  • Taking leisurely outdoor walks
  • Cleaning the house
Moderately strenuous activities include:
  • Walking briskly
  • Playing doubles tennis
  • Hiking
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Swimming
  • Doing water aerobics
Strenuous activities include:
  • Performing aerobic exercise
  • Jogging
  • Hiking uphill
  • Doing martial arts
  • Playing football
  • Playing singles tennis

6. Diversify Activities

Aging adults can engage in activities that boost cardiovascular function by doing aerobic exercise. However, they also need to add activities that enhance balance, flexibility, and strength. Aerobic exercise involves activities that raise the heart rate and should be performed three times weekly for 10 minutes at a time. Cycling, hiking, tai chi, stretching, and walking are activities that increase balance and flexibility. Strengthening workouts may include lifting weights, using stretch bands, or carrying groceries. Balance, flexibility, and strength training should be done a minimum of 90 minutes weekly.  Seniors who need assistance setting up and following safe exercise plans can benefit from the help of trained professional caregivers. In-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. If your loved one needs professional home care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (954) 909-0370 today.


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