Cardio Tips for Seniors
Cardiovascular exercise is essential to any exercise regimen. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that older adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. A moderate intensity level activity is the most commonly accessible type of cardio exercise for older adults and can be easily incorporated into their day-to-day schedule. It’s also important to remember that regardless of what you’re doing, any activity is better than none!
"Multiple studies have found seniors can lower their risk for developing dementia by exercising regularly," says Stephen Harris, Vice President of Clinical Compliance at Enlivant. "Exercising your body regularly gives you more time to do the things you love to do, with the people you love to do them with!"
Read on for some tips and cardio exercises for seniors.
Brisk walking. We’ll start with the basics. Whether it’s a lap around the block, the park, or an Assisted Living community, brisk walking counts as a moderate-intensity exercise. This cardio workout for seniors is encouraged even for those that require a walking aid such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair. For those that have been inactive, start with a five-minute walk and build on that each day.
Playing with grandkids. Sneak in some exercise while enjoying quality time with grandchildren or loved ones. Go swimming, toss a ball, teach them how to garden, dance, or find what moves you together! Bringing some fun into your activity will help seniors forget they’re even working out at all.
Invest in hobbies. Don’t let your senior loved one lose touch with their hobbies and passions. Find ways to make these a part of their schedule whether it’s taking them to the golf course once a week, signing up for a jazzercise class, or starting a bowling league.
Track activity. Help seniors track their activity each week to make sure they’re hitting their goals. Printing out a weekly log sheet or downloading apps like MyFitnessPal can help them easily record their exercise accomplishments and stay on track.
It's important to remember that any type of activity that raises heart rate can be considered a cardio workout for older adults. Make sure seniors know to account for these types of activities that might not seem obvious - household chores, cleaning, walking the dog, cooking, etc. Even though cardio exercise should be the primary focus of an aging adult's routine, it's also important to incorporate two strength activities each week as well. For more tips, visit the CDC website.