Home / Senior Fitness / Regular Physical Activity for Senior: Health Benefits, Intensity and Frequency

Regular Physical Activity for Senior: Health Benefits, Intensity and Frequency

In this article, we will try to explain why practising Regular Physical Activity for Senior is an excellent decision to take. First, we will list the Health Benefits for Regular Fitness or Physical Activities for Senior. Then we will detail the Intensity and the Frequency of these exercises for Muscle Strengthening, Aerobic (cardiorespiratory). We will include in the last part, the most recommended exercises for Senior. 

Health Benefits from Regular Physical Activity for Senior

“Participating in regular physical activity provides many health benefits, as summarized below. Reducing risk of some of these conditions may require long-term participation, but the result is worth it. Other benefits, such as increased heart and lung—or cardiorespiratory—fitness, may require only a few weeks or months of participation.”

The main health benefits for Senior exercising regularly are:

Prevention of weight Loss

Actually, elder adults tend to win weight as they reduce their physical activity. Also the body metabolism starts to slow down with age, the fat burning capacity is decreasing and the body tends to gain extra fat easily.

So practicing regular Physical Activity for Senior can help to maintain a stable weight and prevention weight loss.

Improved cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength

Regular Physical Activity for Senior as well for younger people is the best way to improve the cardiorespiratory body system. Fitness exercises and especially the cardio exercises such as running and aerobics help the heart and the lung working better and postponing aging.

Also Physical exercises are the best way to maintain the muscles and even to develop them in order to feel strong and to keep all the capacity of the body.

Having worked muscles can also reduce pain sensation: in case of back pain for example, if the dorsal muscles are enough strong, they will reduce the pressure on the backspin.

Prevention of falls

Knowing that Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+ (source: ncoa.org), it is important to prevent falls. The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. Physical activity can prevent significantly falls (think also about checking the health conditions and maintain same safety precaution at homes)

Reduced depression

Regular exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects.

Regular Exercises has also many psychological benefits among:  boosting confidence and self-esteem distract the brain from negative thoughts, getting more social interaction…

(source: mayoclinic.org)

Better brain function

“Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.”

(source: health.havard.edu)

How much Physical exercises are needs for health benefits?

“Regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do for their health. Physical activity can prevent many of the health problems that may come with age.

If adults aged 65 years of age or older are generally fit, they can follow the guidelines listed below. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, older adults need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve health – aerobic and muscle-strengthening.”

If older adults have a chronic disease or other health condition that might limit activity and prevent them from meeting the guidelines, they should talk with their health-care provider about setting physical activity goals. They should avoid an inactive lifestyle. Inactive older adults should increase their amount of physical activity gradually. Older adults should also do exercises that maintain or improve balance if they are at risk of falling.

How much Muscle Strengthening Activity for Senior ?

Muscle strengthening should be done 2 or more days a week.

  • All major muscle groups should be worked. These are the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
  • Exercises for each muscle group should be repeated 8 to 12 times per set. As exercises become easier, increase the weight or do another set.

(source: k-state.edu)

How much Aerobic Activity for Senior ?

Aerobic Activity required for health BenefitsAerobic Activity for additional Health Benefits
For substantial health benefits, adults need to do at least

•        2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) each week of relatively moderate-intensity* aerobic activity,


•        1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) each week of relatively vigorous-intensity* aerobic activity,


•        A mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.


For greater health benefits, older adults should work up to

•        5 hours (300 minutes) each week of relatively moderate-intensity aerobic activity,


•        2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) a week of relatively vigorous-intensity aerobic activity,


•         A mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

Aerobic activity should be performed for at least 10 minutes at a time, preferably, spread throughout the week.

(source: k-state.edu)

Which Physical Exercises for Senior Fitness to practice?

Type of Aerobic Activities by Level of Intensity for Elder

“Relative intensity is related to a person’s level of heart and lung—or cardiorespiratory—fitness and means the level of effort needed at his or her fitness level. As a rule of thumb, on a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is 0 and the highest level of effort possible is 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. Vigorous-intensity activity is a 7 or 8.

Older adults can meet the guidelines by doing moderate-intensity activities, vigorous-intensity activities, or a combination of both. For example, the relative intensity of a walk depends on cardiorespiratory fitness and can be light intensity for an elite athlete, moderate intensity for recreational walkers, high intensity for inactive middle-aged or older adults, or impossible for near-frail older adults.”

People doing moderate-intensity activity will notice that their hearts are beating faster than normal and they are breathing harder than normal. People doing vigorous-intensity activity will feel these as being much faster and harder than normal.

Adults with chronic conditions should engage in regular physical activity because it can help improve their quality of life and reduce the risk of developing new conditions. They should decide on the type and amount based on their abilities and on the severity of the chronic condition. In many cases, physical activity can improve symptoms and is part of the recommended treatment.

Many factors may influence older adults’ decisions on ways to be active, such as their current health and safety. Healthy older adults generally do not need to consult a health-care provider before becoming active.

Below are some examples of aerobic physical activities for older adults.

List of Aerobic Activities recommended for Senior Aerobic exercises

Here the list of recommended physical activities for older adults

  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics
  • Jogging
  • Aerobic exercise classes
  • Bicycle riding (stationary or on a path)
  • Some gardening activities, such as raking and pushing a lawn mower
  • Tennis

Senior Muscle-Strengthening exercises

“Older adults also should do activities that strengthen their muscles at least 2 days a week, at a moderate to high level of intensity. Whether at home or in the gym, the activities they choose should work all the major muscle groups of the body (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms).

No specific time is recommended for muscle-strengthening, but exercises should be performed to the point at which it would be difficult to do another repetition.

Older adults can do activities that strengthen muscles on the same or different days that they do aerobic activity, whichever works best. Muscle-strengthening activities do not count toward the aerobic activity total. Below are some examples of muscle-strengthening physical activities for older adults.”

Recommended of Muscle-Strengthening Activity

Here the recommended types of Muscle Strengthening activities recommended for Senior:

  • Exercises using exercise bands, weight machines, hand-held weights
  • Callisthenic exercises (body weight provides resistance to movement)
  • Digging, lifting, and carrying as part of gardening
  • Some yoga exercises and some tai chi exercises

Check here a full program of Muscle Strengthening exercises for Seniors (coming soon)

Preventing Falls with Balance Exercises for Senior

Strong evidence shows that regular physical activity is safe and reduces the risk of falls in older adults. Older adults at risk of falling should do exercises that maintain or improve their balance. For best results, they should do these exercises

  • at least 3 days a week and
  • Using exercises from a program shown to reduce falls.

List of Balance exercises for Seniors

Within the recommended Balance Senior exercises to, we have:

  • Backward walking
  • Sideways walking
  • Heel walking
  • Toe walking
  • Standing from a sitting position.
  • Tai Chi

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *