How Much Physical Activity Do Seniors Need?

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What’s the Right Amount of Exercise for Aging Adults?

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Older adults who regularly engage in physical activity are better able to stave off a number of health problems. Exercise enables the cardiovascular system to function more efficiently. Blood circulation increases, which provides nourishment to all the organ systems. Muscles and bones grow stronger while seniors become more flexible and have enhanced balance. A fit older body is less likely to experience a debilitating fall. Cognitive function is enhanced, and older adults have more energy. However, seniors may wonder how much activity they need for ongoing good health.

Aerobic Activity

Seniors should strive to get some type of physical exercise each day. Healthcare providers recommend older adults strive to get 150 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise every week to work out the cardiovascular system. Older adults who haven’t been active recently might start by taking a 30-minute walk five times a week. Other recommended activities include riding bikes, swimming, and dancing. Some seniors might prefer developing an exercise routine at home. Once seniors achieve 150 minutes of physical activity weekly, they can increase the amount over time. Some older adults exercise up to 300 minutes every week. 

If you have concerns about your loved one’s ability to exercise safely, consider hiring a trained professional caregiver to provide assistance. Home care service 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.

Target Heart Rate Goals

For optimal cardiovascular health, older adults need to raise their heart rates during exercise according to the recommendations appropriate for their age. Lower heart rates are advised for seniors who haven’t been physically active for a while. The higher end of the range is the allowable heart rate for adults who are accustomed to exercise. Seniors should stay within the advisable range to prevent possible cardiac damage. At some point during exercise, seniors should stop and check their pulse rates. Here’s what the average pulse rate during exercise should be for people of different ages:

• 65 years – 78 to 132 beats per minute
• 70 years – 75 to 128 beats per minute
• 75 years – 72 to 123 beats per minute
• 80 years – 70 to 119 beats per minute
• 85 years – 67 to 114 beats per minute
• 90 years – 65 to 110 beats per minute 

If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, hiring a professional caregiver to take over on occasion is a great option. Austin 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.

Starting Slow

If working out for 30 minutes seems like too much, seniors should divide the activity into two sessions of 15 minutes or three sessions of 10 minutes throughout the day. They should perform any exercise as tolerated and gradually increase the duration and intensity. In one study, researchers from Taiwan followed more than 400,000 older adults for eight years. Participating seniors who exercised 15 minutes each day reduced their risk of developing age-related health problems by 14 percent and extended their lives by three years compared to their sedentary peers.

Strength Training

Twice a week, seniors need to reserve part of their exercise routines for activities that focus on balance, flexibility, and strength. Recommended possibilities include Pilates and tai chi. Tai chi is an excellent balance and strength training activity that doesn’t require extreme physical exertion. Other options include using resistance bands, lifting weights, and performing isometric exercises that use the body’s weight to strengthen the musculoskeletal system. 

Assistance with exercising safely is just one of the benefits seniors receive when families enlist the help of trained professional caregivers. Austin at-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. Call us at (512) 623-7800 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.

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