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The Best Exercises for Seniors
There is never an age limit for fitness!
Are you searching for dynamic, age-appropriate exercises for seniors? Whether you are seeking exercise for elderly family members or intend to stay active as you enter your own golden years, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled all sorts of workouts and activities to try.
Are First-Time Workouts for Seniors Okay?
If you’re a senior beginning your first foray into fitness, you might wonder if it’s safe to jump in headfirst.
Good instinct. If you don’t have an athletic background, you’ll probably quickly fall in love with exercise. However, we recommend that you visit your doctor before you hit the gym, especially if you have any medical conditions or chronic injuries.
Once you get the all-clear from doc, you can get started with a personal trainer.
Workouts for Seniors: What’s the Right Amount?
Ideally, sneaking a bit of light exercise into your daily routine is a great way to start. Light exercise usually means a daily activity that requires some physical exertion, like doing household chores. To be considered “light,” these activities should not cause too much exertion or shortness of breath.
But how do you know? Try out the activity; if it’s light enough, you should be able to sing while performing it!
When it comes to a more dedicated workout routine, we trust the CDC. They recommend that senior athletes in good shape should aim for around 150 minutes of moderate, endurance-focused exercise every week. This is particularly ideal for beginner senior athletes.
What Is Endurance Exercise?
Endurance exercise is another term for aerobic exercise. While you may instantly think back to ’80s workout videos, we promise, there’s much more to aerobics than legwarmers.
Aerobic exercise actually refers to any workout which raises your breathing and heart rate, like cycling, swimming, or taking a hike. While many forms of aerobic exercise are categorized as “vigorous,” there are quite a few which can be done at a moderate pace, like swimming, walking, and cycling. Your local pool might even offer a water aerobics class, which is fantastic for seniors of all fitness levels and ages.
Can Experienced Senior Athletes Have a More Intensive Workout?
Yes! If you’re a longtime athlete in good physical health, there’s no reason why you can’t continue your gym routine after your 65th birthday. In general, we recommend around 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity exercise for older adults—or you can combine these activities with more moderate ones.
Our definition of “vigorous-intensity exercise” is any activity that causes hard breathing. Depending on your workout style and background, this could mean hiking, practicing martial arts, jogging, or even playing a round of soccer with the grandkids.
Exercise for Older Adults: Picking the Right Workout
When choosing workouts for seniors, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a catchall topic. At any age, your ideal workout will depend on your circumstances, like your physical condition, athletic background, and health history—including injuries and medical conditions. For seniors, this is especially true; an 85-year-old athlete, for example, will have a different type of workout than their 65-year-old counterpart.
Given how different our circumstances can be, we think it’s a great idea to work with a fitness coach when exploring exercise for older adults. Your coach will be able to ensure you’re trying the best exercises for seniors of your age and level. They’ll also hold you accountable, provide support, and make sure you’re performing these workouts correctly—they’re experts on the importance of proper form.
Reading this article for someone else? If you’re on the hunt for a good workout routine for elderly family members or loved ones, there are several ways to help them stay active, even if they experience mobility issues. In addition, a fitness coach would be happy to help you select the appropriate activities and levels for your unique circumstances.
The Best Exercises for Seniors: Our Top Picks
Ready to try some workouts for seniors? Look at some of our favorites and see what appeals to you. When you’re ready to try one out, our team of athletic coaches will be waiting for you at Jack City Fitness.
Here are some of our favorite workout routines and exercises for seniors:
Stretching is a great way for senior athletes to improve and maintain their mobility and flexibility. It can also help reduce your chance of injury or pain during other exercises. Depending on your fitness level and athletic background, you’ll have plenty of stretches to choose from. Work with your coach to find the right ones for you!
Cycling is a fantastic form of endurance exercise, and it can be modified in terms of both pace and resistance, which we love. If you prefer the great outdoors, you can cycle around your neighborhood for some moderate exercise or even take it uphill for a vigorous-intensity workout. If you love hitting the gym, find one that offers AirBikes—they allow the athlete to set the pace!
Swimming and Water Aerobics
Like cycling, you can modify swimming to match your physical needs. So, if you’re an experienced athlete in good health, you might find that a more vigorous swim is a perfect workout, while beginners may benefit from something more low-key.
Seniors of all ages and levels can enjoy water aerobics—they offer a low-impact form of exercise and can even help with physical pain.
Walking and Hiking
Walking and hiking are excellent ways for seniors to stay active while working at a pace that suits their needs. Whether you prefer a moderate stroll through Boise or a rousing hike up Hull’s Gulch will depend on your fitness level and needs.
If you prefer to walk indoors, come and see us at Jack City Fitness. Our Woodway treadmills are the best in the industry—and are much lower impact than the traditional machines.
The Best Exercise for Elderly or Less Mobile Athletes: Our Top Picks
If mobility is an issue, there are still plenty of activities that provide a great form of exercise. A workout routine for elderly athletes may include:
For those who spend most of their day seated or lying down, rising from a chair without assistance from a person or a walker can be a great form of exercise. Ideally, you should rise to a full standing position with straight knees before returning to sitting. You can repeat this motion several times as long as it feels comfortable.
If you cannot stand or walk, try to give your arms and legs a bit of movement on a daily basis. This doesn’t need to last long—a few minutes will do.
You can do plenty of gentle stretches from a wheelchair or bed, like seated knee bends or leg lifts. We recommend chatting with a fitness coach about the best options for stretches—at Jack City Fitness, we offer remote training for those who can’t easily get to us!
We’re Here to Help You Succeed!
At Jack City Fitness, we take fitness for seniors seriously! Come and join us any day of the week for self-guided workouts and one-on-one training sessions. We’re also proud to offer unique seniors exercise programs. These classes are exclusive to our Partners over the age of 55 and focus on movement control and expanding your range of motion.
Not a Jack City Partner yet? Come and see what we’re all about! Give us a call at (208) 999-1111, and we’ll invite you over to our Boise fitness center for a FREE fitness consultation and tour of the facility. You also use this visit to meet Marshall, who teaches our famous Legacy Strong classes.
If you choose to sign up with us, you will have flexible 24/7 access, a great group of fitness coaches and nutritional counselors to work with, and plenty of equipment to help you reach your goals. We also offer customized options, like modified or remote training sessions. Whatever you need to meet your movement and fitness goals, we are here to support you.
We can’t wait to meet you!