Creating A Senior Fitness Plan


As a senior, keeping up with a fitness plan can feel daunting, but creating a plan that works for you is easier than you think and more important than you can imagine. To grow even stronger as you age, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following fitness guidelines.

Exercising in Your Golden Years

If you’re 65 or older, generally fit, and without any health impairments, find the plan below that works best for you. Leena Kodali, MD, medical director at the St. Joseph Health MatureWell Lifestyle Center, says, “Remember to always ask your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen, especially if you have a chronic condition.”

Get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking

WellTip: What counts as “brisk walking”? You should be able to talk as you walk but not sing.

and 2 or more days a week working the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms

WellTip: Try to do 8-12 reps at a time; but for a challenge, you can double or even triple your reps as long as you take a break in between.

 

OR

Get 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity such jogging or running

WellTip: What counts as “intense” activity? You should be breathing hard enough that you won’t be able to say more than a few words at a time.

and 2 or more days a week working the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms

WellTip: Even heavy gardening, like digging and shoveling, or practicing yoga can be a great way to strengthen your muscles.

 

OR

Mix it up! Get an equal mix of moderate AND vigorous aerobic activity such as brisk walking, jogging, or running.

and 2 or more days a week working the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms

Going the Extra Mile

If you’re a previously active senior looking for a real challenge and even stronger health benefits, the CDC recommends doubling your aerobic activity for maximum results but staying consistent in your muscle-strengthening activities.

It’s a Plan!

Be sure to keep track of your progress to make sure you stay moving with your fitness plan. Use the downloadable chart below to track how you’re building muscle strength, improving balance, and increasing your endurance. Be careful not to exercise the same muscle group two days in a row, and include balance and flexibility exercises in between!

Fitness Plan Chart

If you need help getting active, the St. Joseph Health MatureWell Lifestyle Center provides health and wellness services to adults 55 and over. The MatureWell facility offers a wide range of services and amenities, including primary care from a board-certified geriatrician, outpatient therapy services, and a gym and indoor pool. Begin your fitness journey at MatureWell today.

Sources:
CDC | How much physical activity do older adults need?
NIH NIA | Exercise and Physical Activity

 

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