Senior Exercise

Vigorous Exercise for Longer Health

Adults aged 65 years and over are advised by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense, or 75 minutes of vigorously intense aerobic exercise weekly.  (That’s in addition to at least two days of muscle strengthening activity). A recent CDC survey however, revealed that over half of American seniors do not get any type of exercise at all.

One of the reasons why seniors give as a reason for avoiding exercise is feeling overwhelmed by starting an exercise program.  The good news is that research published last year in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has suggested that doing just 15 minutes of exercise per day is beneficial!  The study, which looked at over 123,000 subjects found that those who did some type of exercise for just 15 minutes per day had a 22% decrease in death rate than their non-exercising counterparts.

The lead researcher, David Hupin, MD feels that this research could be valuable in motivating seniors to exercise more.  Hupin states, “We think that older adults should progressively increase physical activity in their daily lives rather than dramatically changing their habits to meet recommendations.  Small increases in physical activity may enable some older adults to incorporate more moderate activity and get closer to the recommended 150 minutes per week.”

Below are the CDCs detailed exercise guidelines for older adults:

PLAN A

2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

PLAN B

1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

PLAN C

An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

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