Exercise Tips for Seniors

The one thing you can look forward to in retirement is getting more time to do what you want to do. Finally. Exercise is important at every stage of life, but it becomes even more crucial in the lives of seniors — so the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Even if you’ve gone your whole life without an exercise plan, now is a great time to improve your quality of life.

As the body ages, wear and tear takes its toll. The National Institute on Aging said, "When older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn't happen just because they have aged. More likely it is because they have become inactive."

Through the right exercises for your limitations and needs, you can actually slow the process aging has on your joint, bone, heart, mental and muscle health. Exercise has many wonderful benefits for seniors:

  • Gain strength and muscle. As you age, it is normal to experience a loss of muscle, strength and quality of tissue.
  • Increase mobility with aerobic fitness. Increase your mobility as well as your endurance.
  • Lubricate your joints. Moving those joints causes more blood flow and lubrication to them, which then leads to increased flexibility. Exercise can reduce stiffness and increase range of motion. You may even reduce the chance of injury.
  • Find your balance. Balance is so important to the elderly. Seniors are more likely to fall from losing their balance, and the injuries are often catastrophic, such as broken hips and legs. Exercises targeted to balance will help avoid chance of injury, keeping you independent and healthy.

Best Exercises for Seniors

  • Lift weights. Light weights of 2 to 5 pounds are effective in building and maintaining muscle mass. Try to strength train at least twice a week doing at least four repetitions of 10-15 bicep curls.
  • Resistance bands are also a good option for strengthening muscles.
  • Walking is the most accessible type of low-impact exercise available.
  • Swimming is a great cardio exercise for seniors as it offers low impact training and less chance of injury. If you can commit to at least 30 minutes a day a few times a week, you will gradually experience the results.
  • Yoga helps with stretching and balance, and there are many classes just for seniors.

There is no one way to exercise. Listen to your body, do what feels right and seek the advice of your physician before starting any type of exercise plan.

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