How Much Physical Activity Should Seniors Get Each Week?

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Physical activity is essential for older adults who are looking to remain as mobile and healthy as possible for as long as possible. Exercise also has known cognitive benefits that can help older adults remain mentally focused. One way to boost your senior loved one’s odds of reaping these rewards is to encourage him or her to get the right amount of exercise. Today, we’re going to discuss just how much physical activity elderly individuals should get.

Exercise for Approximately 2 1/2 Hours Each Week

The American Heart Association recommends that older adults aim for about 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic exercise per week. This is similar to recommendations mentioned in the 2018 edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which is 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

Getting plenty of exercise can make it easier to maintain a high quality of life in the golden years. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust Lincoln elder care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

Mix Things Up Based on Preferences and Capabilities

The recommended 2 1/2 hours of weekly exercise can be broken down in several ways based on what’s right for your loved one. For instance, your loved one could opt for 30 minutes of low-impact or moderate physical activity 4-5 days a week if he or she has some physical limitations.

If your loved one doesn’t have any significant physical limitations, he or she may prefer to get about an hour or so of vigorous exercise each week. If physical activity is vigorous, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that fewer total weekly hours are recommended. Your loved one could also mix things up by:

• Doing more demanding strength training 1-2 days a week
• Working on balance and flexibility each day with stretching routines or resistance exercises
• Balancing out the rest of the week with lower-impact activities like walking

Move More and Sit Less

Your loved one doesn’t need to get too caught up in specifics about “exercise hours.” The CDC also offers a more general recommendation for adults of all ages when it comes to physical activity—move more and sit less. If you help your loved one focus on this basic goal, he or she could end up being active enough to enjoy positive health benefits.

Luckily, there are many ways your loved one can move more and sit less on a regular basis. Options that tend to be appropriate for elderly individuals include:

• Low-impact aerobic workouts
• Exercises performed in a heated pool
• Walking at a comfortable pace
• Cycling or elliptical trainer/stationary bike use

A professional in-home caregiver can assist your loved one with daily physical activity. 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.

Don’t Forget Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs

With any type of regular physical activity, it’s important to do proper warm-ups and cool-downs. The reason for doing so is to prevent overstressing muscle groups and joints that will be shifting from an inactive to an active state. Warm-up and cool-down exercises typically include walking in place, gentle stretching, or mimicking the motions of the intended physical activity in a slower, more controlled way.

Get a Doctor’s Input

Because recommendations tend to be general when it comes to physical activity for the elderly, it’s a good idea to check with your loved one’s doctor, who should be able to offer more specific exercise guidelines and suggestions.

Make sure you get plenty of exercise as well so you can stay healthy and continue providing high-quality care to your loved one. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Lincoln families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation. Call one of our qualified Care Managers today at 916.226.3737 to schedule a free in-home consultation.