Fitness, Personal Training, & Exercise Science

Strength & Cardio Exercise for Older Adults

Staying fit and mobile is essential, especially for senior citizens. As we get older, healthy, frequent movements are paramount for staying balanced, stable and in control of our minds and bodies. With all of the trends out there, however, it can be difficult to decide which ones are truly best for seniors.

Exercise for older adults and its benefits

Low-intensity exercises

Low-intensity exercises such as walking, recreational swimming and yoga or Pilates is a great way to reduce pain associated with health conditions such as arthritis and improve overall mobility. Pilates, for example, promotes strength, balance and flexibility, which can facilitate renewed strength and range of motion—without the stress that many other workouts can put on the body.

When you and your clients decide on an exercise that is best suited to their needs and physical status, remember to take it slow. “Walking for just five or 10 minutes at a time, several days a week is a great way to begin,” writes the staff at Healthline. “Once you can walk for 30 minutes at a time, you have built a solid foundation and are ready to add more challenging activities to your regimen.”

Moderate-intensity exercises

Now that your client has successfully built some endurance, you may want to consider taking it up a notch with moderate exercises. Moderate-intensity exercises such as cycling, strength training and ballroom dancing are challenging enough to build a strong, limber body, but gentle enough for those suffering from joint conditions. Plus, all of these workouts can be modified to what your client can handle physically and mentally.

High-intensity exercises

Not all seniors suffer from immobility. And while HIIT may not be the best fit for a senior citizen, other high-intensity workouts such as jogging, cross-country skiing and logging time on the elliptical machine may be perfectly safe for your clients. While this will be primarily dependent on their physical health, “new evidence continues to emerge outlining the profound benefits that these [high-intensity] regimes can convey,” writes the Advanced Healthcare Network. “While the benefits are many, and include things like preventing strokes and delaying the onset of diabetes, some of the most dramatic improvements can be seen in terms of patient strength and mobility.”

Interested learning more about improving your clients’ health and fitness? Download our complimentary guide: “Rehab Exercise Handbook for the Back.”

Join the ranks of successful certified yoga professionals by completing AFPA’s online yoga certification program.

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