You probably already know that regular physical activity is key to staying fit and healthy as you get older. But what kinds of exercise should you incorporate into your routine? If you’re starting a new fitness practice – or just looking to get a little healthier – cardio can be a great place to begin. Cardio helps keep you fit, independent, and comfortable as you ease into your golden years. Find out more about the benefits of cardio, as well as some of our favorite cardio exercises for seniors.
Cardio Exercises for Seniors
What Are the Benefits of Cardio Exercises?
So, why bother with cardio exercises at all? First, cardio helps get your heart rate up – and, like any muscle, the heart needs a good workout on a regular basis to stay in tip-top shape. When your heart gets stronger, you’re able to pump more blood with every beat. Ultimately, an efficient heartbeat can lower your resting heart rate, reduce your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol levels, and help lower your risk of heart disease. Other benefits of cardio include weight management, increased lung capacity, decreased stress, and increased independence. And before you ask, there’s plenty of data proving how cardio contributes to independence. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise helps maintain your ability to walk, bathe, cook, eat, dress, and complete other essential tasks without help from others.
Clearly, cardio can have a profound impact on your health and happiness. To ensure that you choose safe and effective exercises, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any cardio program.
How Much Cardio Exercise Do I Need?
The American Heart Association (AHA) has several general exercise recommendations for adults, which you can tailor to fit your lifestyle and fitness goals. As a general rule, the AHA recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which you can split up into five 30-minute sessions. Moderate exercise might look like light water aerobics, an arm-pumping walk around the park, or even raking leaves. Alternatively, you can shoot for 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, or three 25-minute sessions. These sessions should involve more high-intensity exercises like running. Of course, you know your body better than anyone. If you’re dealing with a chronic condition that affects your ability to exercise, be sure to talk to your doctor and listen to your body before beginning a regimen. It’s not about perfection: even a little bit of cardio each week can go a long way, so just try to be as physically active as you can – and have fun doing it.
A Few of Our Favorite Cardio Exercises
So, you’re ready to incorporate more cardio into your routine. Here are a few of our favorite options:
- Water Aerobics: If you enjoy working out with friends, water aerobics could be a great option for you. This low-impact, high-energy workout takes place entirely in the water, with is helpful for seniors with joint pain. Grab your goggles and hop in for a fun but challenging cardio workout that will improve your strength and flexibility.
- Elliptical Training: Jogging on pavement can be tough on the knees, but using an elliptical machine is a great way to work out the same muscles in a low-impact way. You can find an elliptical machine at most gyms near the other cardio equipment. Just be sure to ask a gym staff member for help if you’re not sure how to use the machine.
- Walking: Walking is a low-impact way to get your heart pumping and explore your community. For a challenge, grab a pedometer and set a daily step goal for yourself. Walking is also a great way to catch up with friends and loved ones while enjoying a workout.
Cardio exercises for seniors range from high-intensity workouts like elliptical training to low-stress activities like walking. Remember, you know your body best, so be sure to take it easy as you begin a workout program. If you have any questions or concerns, your doctor is your best resource.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities make it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. We would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore the community, speak with the Community Director, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. To learn more about our amenities and services, please call 901-266-3329 (Bartlett) or 901-854-6590 (Collierville). We look forward to meeting you!