Adequate exercise is important throughout all phases of life. Physical activity is required to keep our bodies and minds functioning optimally. Those who live sedentary lifestyles are more likely to suffer from various mental and physical health problems than those who try to stay active. But for the seniors in your life, you may be wondering if it’s possible to overdo it with the exercises. This guide aims to answer the question, “How much exercise is needed for older adults?”
Is It Possible for Seniors to Exercise Too Much?
Often, we’re so focused on helping our older loved ones get enough exercise that we don’t stop to think about whether they’re getting too much of it. Just as it’s possible for children and young adults to exercise too much, it’s also possible for seniors to exercise too much.
When mature adults exercise too much, it can potentially lead to physical injuries or even fatal medical conditions. For these reasons, seniors need to consult with their doctors before engaging in any new activities or exercise programs. Seniors may be able to mitigate their risk of serious injuries by engaging in low-impact activities such as yoga or swimming instead of doing vigorous aerobics.
How Much Exercise Do Older Adults Need?
When addressing the question, “How much exercise is needed for older adults?” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that adults aged 65 and older should get:
- At least two days per week of muscle-strengthening activities.
- At least 150 minutes each week of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, OR 75 minutes per week of running, jogging or other vigorous-intensity activities. (Elder Care Alliance recommends consulting with a doctor before participating in any vigorous activities to ensure you can safely engage in them).
- Balance-improving activities about three days out of every week.
For those with chronic conditions that impact their ability to meet the recommendations outlined above, it’s still important to be as physically active as possible without harming themselves.
Limit Sitting Time
Many seniors tend to spend too much time sitting. It’s natural to want to rest your tired body and relax while watching television, knitting or doing other sedentary activities. But if you’re wondering how much exercise is needed for adults, the answer may be more straightforward than you expect. Exercise doesn’t have to mean riding a bike or hiking a trail. It can be as simple as moving more and sitting less.
The more seniors move around throughout the day, the better. Even gentle physical activity is better than none at all. Cleaning the house, cooking meals and doing yard work are all good examples of physical activity that isn’t too strenuous for seniors to do.
If you’re concerned that the seniors in your life aren’t getting enough physical activity, it’s important to learn how much exercise is needed for older adults. Armed with the answer to that question, you can gently encourage more healthy movement so your loved ones can maintain optimal physical and mental health as they age.