How Much Physical Activity Do Older Adults Need?

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Most seniors realize they should exercise, but many don’t know exactly how much physical activity they actually need. While exercising in the senior years can be difficult, a little bit of activity can greatly enhance almost every facet of an older adult’s physical and mental health. 

The Importance of Exercising in the Senior Years

Before determining how much exercise a senior needs, it’s important to take a look at the reasons physical activity is a necessary component of every individual’s life. In addition to helping an older adult stay at a healthy weight, exercising also reduces the risk of fractures. Broken bones are extremely common among the elderly, and many older adults break their bones because they don’t have enough strength to catch themselves when they’re falling over. Exercising also has a huge impact on emotional health, and studies continue to show that being active can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. 

If you have concerns about your loved one’s ability to exercise safely, consider hiring a trained professional caregiver to provide assistance. Home care service professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

Knowing How Much Exercise Is Enough

Every senior has slightly different needs, but there are some basic guidelines most health experts agree with. As a general rule, healthy seniors should try to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week. While the exercise can be done in one or two days, it’s typically a much better option to exercise for around 30 minutes per day. Seniors who prefer rigorous exercise might only need to work out for 1.5 hours per week. An example of rigorous exercise would be jogging at a relatively fast pace for an extended time. 

Getting Started

All older adults need to exercise, but it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Those who haven’t trained in quite some time should first meet with their doctors to discuss their options. Certain medical conditions can make exercising difficult, and older adults might need to start very slowly so they don’t exacerbate any existing health problems. The doctor can also recommend a physical therapist or another medical specialist who can help the senior come up with a long-term training plan. 

If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider hiring a professional caregiver to take over on occasion. Carmichael respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Alternatives to Traditional Training

Jogging and lifting weights are both excellent options, but some people find those activities boring. Luckily, almost any physically strenuous activity is fine as long as it raises the heart rate and strengthens all the major muscle groups. 

Some of the best options for those who don’t enjoy traditional training include hiking, dancing, and water aerobics. Doing rigorous chores around the house can be a great form of exercise as well. Gardening, raking leaves, sweeping, and vacuuming all strengthen the cardiovascular system and various muscles throughout the body. 

Assistance with exercising safely is just one of the benefits seniors receive when families enlist the help of trained professional caregivers. Carmichael at-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (916) 485-4663.


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