A daily exercise routine for seniors
Is it safe for most adults older than 65 years of age to engage in daily physical activity? The answer is absolutely yes. Older people can obtain significant health benefits with daily physical activity. According to the international guidelines, all healthy seniors are recommended to undertake >30 minutes of daily physical activity in order to enhance physical fitness and to maintain overall health or wellness, as well as to reduce the risk from chronic diseases and disabilities. 1, 2
A daily exercise program for seniors may include – stretching &flexibility exercises, strength training with or without weight and cardio-respiratory endurance exercise.
- Stretching, warming up and cooling down aid to improve flexibility, avoid injury during exercise and reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
- Strength training with weights or resistance bands helps to prevent loss of bone mass and improve balance.
- Cardio-respiratory endurance exercise encourages seniors to work hard enough to increase breathing and heart rate. This allows sufficient oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the tissues, as well as the waste product to be removed over sustained period of time.3
Exercise safety is important to avoid any injury and maintain good physical fitness. The following easy tips will help you get started safely and reduce the risk of exercise injury by:
- Wearing proper footwear
- Using the right equipment
- Drinking sufficient water to keep body hydrated
- Warming up and stretching properly
- Seeking medical clearance from doctor before starting an exercise program, especially for those with pre-existing condition 4
Stop exercising and seek medical help if you experience symptoms such as:
- Discomfort or pain
- Chest pain or other pain that could indicate a heart attack (pain in the neck and jaw, pain travelling down the arm or pain between the shoulder blades)
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat during exercise 4
By Sylvia Liew
Revita Aged Care Physiotherapist
- Briffa TG, Maiorana A, Sheerin NJ, Stubbs AG, et al. Physical activity for people with cardiovascular disease: recommendations of the National Heart Foundation of Australia. Medical Journal of Australia. 2006; 184(2):71-5. Available from: http://search.proquest.com/docview/235712168?accountid=10382.
- Aging NIo. Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging. 2015 [Available from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity/introduction.
- AgingCare. Exercise for the elderly. 2015 [Available from: https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/Exercise-benefits-for-the-Elderly-95383.htm.
- Channel BH. Exercise Safety. 2015; Available from: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Exercise_safety.