As we age, we become accustomed to a more sedentary lifestyle. No longer are we working 8 hour days or running our children from place to place. Although new aches and pains or even cognitive barriers may make exercise seem daunting and out of reach, physical activity is just as important if not more so in older age. Studies show that consistent physical activity in older adults increases their independence, lowers their risk for injury, and improves their general mood and overall cognitive ability. The CDC states that older adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week along with targeted muscle strengthening activities. While that may sound like a large chunk of time, it can be broken down into 30 minutes a day in one setting or three ten minute sessions a day over five days.
According to the National Council on Aging, less than one third of adults over the age of 65 meet this recommendation. If you are caring for a loved one and worry they may not be moving as much as they should, think of ways to incorporate their exercise into your daily routine. Please consult their doctor before adding physical activity to their daily routine, especially if they have a heart condition.
When coming up with activities, make sure to include elements of aerobics, balance, and muscle strengthening. Examples include:
Here are some videos to consider for each focus area:
YouTube and the National Institute on Aging and other online resources may be helpful when looking for senior friendly activity ideas.
It takes a little muscle and it takes a little grit,