Types of exercise for seniors

Once you decide that you want to start exercising and you are ready to do it, you may want to know what kind of exercises you should incorporate in your routine. Experts recommend certain types of exercises for elders that will cover their necessities and improve their health. In this article we will explain the different types of exercise recommended for seniors, some examples and their benefits.

      What types of exercise are recommended for seniors?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) of the U.S recommends four types of exercises for seniors: aerobic exercises, strength exercises, balance exercises and flexibility exercises.

The idea is to incorporate them to your routine or to do activities that involve most them. This way, you will take advantage of every aspect of exercising and its benefits.

The amount of exercise recommended for older people is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous–intensity physical activity. You can also do an equivalent combination of both intensities of physical activity.

Remember to talk to your doctor before doing major changes in your lifestyle.

     Flexibility exercises

Flexibility exercises, also known as stretching, will give you more freedom of movement and will help with your daily activities, like reaching out for things. They will stretch your muscles and make them more limber. It is important to do this type of exercises before and after doing aerobic and strength exercises, so your body will be prepared for activity.

There is a wide variety of flexibility exercises that you can do at home and for most of them you will only need your own body. There are also some activities that you can join, like yoga or Pilates, which will include this type of exercises.

     Aerobic exercises

     Aerobic exercises, also known as endurance exercises or cardio, help your cardiovascular system. They improve your circulation, lower blood pressure and speed up your metabolism. Endurance activities increase your breathing and heart rate while doing them. These activities will make your everyday activities much easier.

If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you start with 10 minutes or cardio daily and you start increasing the amount of time gradually until you reach 150 minutes weekly (or more!).

Aerobic exercises include certain sports like tennis, cycling or swimming, and other activities like walking, jogging, dancing or gardening.

Strength exercises

Strength exercises are focused on increasing your strength and building muscle. This is important because we tend to lose muscle mass as we age and lifting objects becomes harder.

A lot of people think that these exercises only involve lifting very heavy weights, but that is not true. Actually, when you are starting, using the weight of your body could be enough. Once you start practicing more, you can add light weights or resistance bands.

There are certain exercises that you can do at home with the help of a chair, your resistance band or light weights, such as wall push-ups, wrist curls and arm raises.


     Balance exercises

     The leading cause of injury-related deaths among people over 65 in the U.S is falling. The risk of falling increases for seniors because their balance is affected for different reasons. This is why balance exercises can be life savior and one of the most important types of exercises for seniors.

As their name indicates, balance exercises focus on improving balance and stability. Some of them also build up leg muscles.

You can do certain balance exercises at home, like heel-to-toe walking or standing on one foot. There are low-impact activities like Tai Chi or Yoga that will definitely include balance exercises.

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