A Guide to Aging and Exercise
Think that exercise is only a young person’s game? It’s not! People of all ages should be participating in regular exercise. It’s essential for maintaining our physical, mental, and emotional health as well as preventing injury, illness and disease.
Can I exercise as I get older?
Yes! You can absolutely exercise as you get older and we encourage it. If you’ve been sedentary for a while and are looking to restart an exercise routine, it’s important to start small and start where you are. Exercise goals are just that, goals, and they take time, patience and commitment.
What exercise activities should I be doing?
Generally, people of all ages need a combination of strength training, moderate-intensity aerobic movement and regular stretching.
Strength training is described as movement that makes your muscles work harder than usual such as bodyweight training and weightlifting. Moderate-intensity aerobic movement is exercise that gets your heart beating faster such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming. And don’t forget to stretch! They can be simple stretches or even yoga and pilates programs.
How often should I exercise?
Great question! How often you exercise will be dependent on your current physical fitness and personal medical situation. It’s always recommended to discuss your fitness goals with your healthcare provider before you start a new exercise program or activity.
If you’re currently moderately active, the general guideline is to aim for strength training at least twice per week in addition to 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Stretching should be done every single day, but especially before and after physical activity.
What are the benefits of exercising as I get older?
There are so many benefits to exercising while you age! Benefits will depend on your individual physical and medical situation, but these are some common benefits to look forward to:
- Increases muscle strength and bone density
- Improves balance, mobility and dexterity
- Maintains a healthy weight
- Reduces hypertension
- Lowers risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and more
- Independence, less reliance on others
- Improves cognitive function and memory
- Promotes quality sleep
- Improves social engagement
- Boosts your mood, energy and outlook on life
- Decreases stress, anxiety and depression
For ideas on strength training, stretching and aerobic exercise, we recommend speaking with your provider. Because each person is different and has different healthcare needs, ask your provider which exercises are safe and effective for you.