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The Best Workout Routines for Older Adults

Medicare Bob
Health
Staying fit as you get older is important for your overall health, and these activities geared toward older adults can help you do just that.
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Did you know it's recommended that adults get at least 150 - 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week? That's according to the physical activity guidelines set by the Department of Health and Human Services, which also stresses the importance of twice-weekly muscle-strengthening activities.

That's a lot of physical activity! But as we age, regular exercise becomes even more important. The National Institute on Aging outlines four types of exercise and frequency that are vital for older adults:

  • Aerobic - preferably activity spread throughout the week, for example, 50 minutes 3 days per week

  • Strength - 2 or more days per week with rest days in between

  • Balance - such as Tai Chi and standing on one leg

  • Flexibility - stretching as often as you need to maintain your full range of motion

You can do these workouts on your own, but you’ll have more fun meeting fellow exercisers via virtual group sessions, gym classes or through fitness programs at your senior center. 

Check out these suggestions for the best workout routines for older adults.

Best Endurance Workouts for Older Adults

Endurance activities are aerobic in nature and help improve your cardiovascular health so you can complete daily tasks with ease. Endurance exercise can also reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Some great endurance workouts might include:

  • Brisk walking

  • Dancing

  • Swimming

  • Biking

  • Tennis

  • Yardwork

Best Strength Workouts for Older Adults

Strength training helps build strong muscles. In turn, this helps improve balance and prevent falls. Strength exercises can also help maintain bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health.

These workouts can be done using dumbbells, resistance bands or your own body weight. Examples of great strength training moves include:

  • Bodyweight exercises: pushups, leg lifts, pullups, squats

  • Activities such as yoga poses and some forms of Tai Chi

  • Carrying heavy items such as groceries

  • Exercises using bands, hand-held weights, and weight machines

If you’re not familiar with strength training, taking a class or having a one-on-one session with an instructor is a great way to learn the ropes.

Best Balance Workouts for Older Adults

Balance exercises are key for preventing falls and fall-related injuries. Lower-body strength exercises can double as balance exercises. Consider a workout routine that involves some of these helpful balance moves:

  • Squats

  • Lunges

  • Calf raises 

  • Heel-to-toe walk 

  • Standing on one foot for 15 seconds

  • Repeatedly transitioning from sitting to standing and back to sitting

Best Flexibility Workouts for Older Adults

Flexibility is all about stretching. Whether done before another workout or on its own, stretching will help increase your ability to perform basic movements more freely and protect you from injury. Some great stretching workouts, as recommended by the NIA, may include:

  • Seated spinal twists (A good back stretch.)

  • Inner-thigh stretch (Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on floor. Allow your knees to open to the sides until you feel a gentle inner-thigh stretch.)

  • Ankle stretch (From a seated position, flex and extend the feet.)

  • Hamstring stretch (Lie on the floor and gently raise one leg toward your chest, holding behind the knee for support.)

Yoga is also one of the best flexibility workouts and helps with balance and strength. heck your local gym or senior center to see if they offer classes in types of yoga that focus on breath and flow of movement.

Start a Workout Routine Today

If you’re new to exercise, start by talking with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can advise you on the best workout routines for your age group while considering your health history and any conditions that might limit your participation in certain programs. 

Remember: It’s never too late to commit to a healthier lifestyle. Senior fitness programs can provide a fun, safe way for you to lose weight and stay energized, improve your physical and mental health, and maintain your independence as you age.

To learn more about the Active&Fit Direct Program offered by Senior Healthcare Direct, call 1-833-463-3262, TTY 711 to speak with a licensed agent.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above is meant to be strictly educational and not intended to provide medical advice or solicit the sales of an insurance product or service of any kind.

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