Fitness for Older Adults - A Guide

Fitness for Older Adults - A Guide

According to government guidelines, adults aged 65 and over who are generally fit and have no health conditions stopping them from exercising should do the following activity throughout the week:

  • Moderate Aerobic Activity, such as cycling, brisk walking - at least 150 minutes per week

  • Strength Exercises which work the major muscles such as legs, arms, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and hips - at least 2 days a week

OR

  • Vigorous Aerobic Activity, such as running, singles tennis - 75 minutes per week

  • Strength Exercises which work the major muscles such as legs, arms, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and hips - at least 2 days a week

OR

  • A mixture of Moderate and Vigorous Aerobic Activity each week. For example, two 30 minute runs plus 30 minutes of fast walking equals 150 minutes of Moderate Aerobic Activity

  • Strength Exercises which work the major muscles such as legs, arms, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and hips - at least 2 days a week

This might seem like a lot, but you don’t have to do it all at once! One way to do it is to do 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days a week and do strength exercises on the others. You can also break it into 10 minute chunks throughout the day which means you can do 10 minutes in the morning, 10 at lunch and 10 in the evening!

Examples of Moderate Aerobic Activity:

  • Brisk walking

  • Cycling on level ground

  • Water aerobics

  • Doubles tennis

  • Ballroom dancing

  • Mowing the lawn

You could ever have a go at these NHS aerobic workout videos.

What Moderate Activity should feel like: your heartbeat will increase, you’ll breathe faster and feel warmer, but you’ll still be able to hold a conversation.

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Examples of Vigorous Aerobic Activity:

  • Jogging and running

  • Football

  • Singles tennis

  • Aerobics

  • Riding a bike fast or on hilly ground

  • Fast swimming

  • Martial Arts

Vigorous activity, rather than Moderate Activity is generally thought to be better for our overall health, so try and introduce it into your exercise routine as you go.

What Vigorous Activity should feel like: you’ll get warmer, breath fast and not be able to say more than a few words whilst doing it.

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Examples of activities to build strength:

  • Lifting weights or carrying heavy shopping

  • Heavy gardening

  • Yoga

  • Exercises using your own body weight, like sit-ups, push-ups and squats

Strength exercises make sure we can carry out everyday activities, regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, build strong bones and keep to a good weight.

Strength exercises are done in ‘sets’ and ‘reps’. A rep is one complete movement of something, like one sit-up, and a set is a group of reps! You should aim for 8 - 12 reps in a set, and at least one set of each activity.

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Finally...

SITTING - We tend to sit more as we get older, but it’s bad for our health. So try and break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

BALANCE - Balance exercises are very important as we get older as they help us continue to walk and climb steps confidently, stand up and sit down and respond quickly we you trip.

FLEXIBILITY - It’s important to get some flexibility exercises into your week as they make sure we can continue to bend down, get in and out of a car, wash our hair and get dressed.

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