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Three Fitness Exercises for Seniors

 

by Katie Morell

Seniors today are more active than ever. Persons over the age of 65 are traveling in record numbers (some even going on international adventure trips), living longer than those in previous generations and staying healthier than seniors of the past.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that older adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, or an equivalent amount (75 minutes or 1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity.

The following three fitness activities offer strength and cardiovascular training to keep seniors citizens healthy, active and their intensity levels high.

Light weight-lifting

In addition to physical activity, the AHA recommends that adults strength traintwo days per week.

When performing muscle-strengthening exercises with weights, try a series of different exercises to work the whole body. Start with three- to five-pound dumbbells and do a few sets of arm curls and squats holding weights, and arm rows with weights above the head.

No specific amount of time is recommended for muscle strengthening. However, muscle-strengthening exercises should be performed to the point when it would be difficult to do another repetition without help.

Weight training after stroke has also been shown to support muscular rehabilitation, according to the AHA.

Yoga

While yoga doesn’t count toward the weekly 150 minutes of AHA-recommended physical activity, it has  been shown to have positive impacts on the mind, body and spirit for persons of all ages. According to the AHA, yoga can help heart health when performed a few times per week by helping lower blood pressure, increasing blood circulation, boosting muscle tone and lung capacity, and improving flexibility and respiratory function.

Not sure where to find a yoga class in your area? Check out YogaFinder.com for listings in cities across the country.

Water aerobics

Swimming is the fourth most popular physical activity in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But while swimming can be a great workout for seniors, many enjoy organized water aerobics classes. These are traditionally taught in community pools and membership-based health clubs, and include guided weight lifting while treading water (weights are light and become heavier when put under water) and synchronized aerobic movements.

As an extra bonus, those exercising in a pool feel only about 10 percent of their body weight while doing so, according to the American Council on Exercise, which helps to reduce stress on joints and muscles.

Not sure where to find a water aerobics class near you? Try checking your local YWCA, typing your zip code into GymLocator.com or look for pools in your area on SwimmersGuide.com.

Learn more heart-healthy exercises on Go Red.