One of the best things about exercise is that it is never too late to start. Just because you might be retired from your career or perhaps past your prime in terms of your physical performance does not mean that you cannot and should not exercise.
Exercises for seniors over 75 and senior workouts, in general, tend to be slightly lower in intensity, shorter in duration, and sometimes even less frequent than workouts for younger adults.
However, this is not to say that exercises for seniors over 75 can’t still be vigorous and challenging, depending on your fitness level, physical limitations, and health in general. So, what are the best exercises for seniors over 75? What should senior workouts entail?
In this article, we will provide suggestions for exercising for seniors, tips to make exercise for elderly individuals safe and effective, and what sorts of aspects of fitness that workouts for seniors over 75 should address.
We will cover:
- Can Seniors Over 75 Exercise?
- Tips for Exercises for Seniors and Elderly Adults
- What Are the Best Exercises for Seniors Over 75?
- How to Structure Workouts for Seniors
Let’s dive in!
Can Seniors Over 75 Exercise?
Many people aren’t sure whether exercise for elderly individuals is necessary, let alone safe.
However, the good news is that seniors over 75 can and should be doing consistent exercise.
In fact, the physical activity recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the British Heart Foundation, which are to accumulate either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio exercise per week, pertain to adults of all ages, including individuals over the age of 75.
These recommendations also include guidelines that state that all adults, including elderly individuals, should aim to do two total-body strength training workouts per week and flexibility exercises twice a week.Therefore, not only should senior workouts include aerobic exercise, but it is also important to include strength training and flexibility work.
Indeed, just like younger adults, exercises for seniors over 75 should address all five aspects of health-related fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
Another important aspect of fitness that should be included in the workout routine for elderly individuals is balance exercises.
Tips for Exercises for Seniors and Elderly Adults
Here are some tips for exercising for adults over 75:
#1: Join a Class
If you are an older adult who struggles with motivation or needs extra guidance on your fitness routine, one of the best tips for exercising for seniors over 75 is to look into joining a senior group exercise class.
There are many group exercise classes that are geared specifically toward seniors.
Silver Sneakers is a popular chain of exercises and workouts for seniors. Most YMCAs have senior exercise classes, or your local senior center might offer group exercise classes for seniors.
Of course, seniors are also welcome to take open group exercise classes with adults of any age group, but if you are new to exercise or have physical limitations, joining a senior-specific exercise class can be a safer, more approachable way to exercise without needing to modify the movements given by the instructor.
Senior exercise classes are designed with the physical needs and common mobility challenges, strength limitations, and balance and flexibility concerns of seniors.
It’s also a great way to meet people and have community support for your workout routine.
#2: Don’t Neglect Recovery
Although the guidelines for physical activity for seniors over 75 are no different than for those who are younger, the reality is that many elderly adults do need extra rest and recovery between workouts.
You may find that it is best for you to do structured workouts every other day rather than every day.
#3: Work With a Physical Therapist or Personal Trainer
If you have chronic injuries, such as degenerative osteoarthritis in your knees or hips, or have had a knee or hip replacement, or if you have other sorts of mobility issues or physical limitations, it can be helpful to work with a physical therapist or a personal trainer.
A professional can help design an individualized exercise plan that combines rehab exercises with regular exercises and modifications of exercises that may otherwise be uncomfortable or unsafe for you to perform with your body.
What Are the Best Exercises for Seniors Over 75?
There isn’t a definitive list of the best exercises for seniors over 75 or any sort of universal list of the “right“ or “wrong“ exercises for adults over 75.
The aging process is highly individualized, and what may feel comfortable and safe for one elderly adult may be entirely different than that for another.
However, here are some of the best types of exercises for seniors over 75:
#1: Aerobic Exercise
Although some amount of impact is ideal to maintain bone density, if you have significant arthritis, joint pain, or osteoporosis already, you will find that reducing the impact of the exercise will be more comfortable and safer for your body.
Some of the best forms of aerobic exercise for seniors over 75 include walking, incline walking, swimming, aqua aerobics, water jogging, indoor cycling, rowing, elliptical machine, Jazzercise or Zumba dancing, hiking, and Nordic walking with poles.
Water exercise is particularly forgiving on the joints.
Another good cardio exercise for seniors is rebounding. Rebounding involves marching, jogging, or jumping on a mini trampoline. This is a unique form of exercise because it is a high-impact activity on a forgiving surface.
In this way, rebounding can help improve bone density without causing as much bone and joint stress as running or jumping on a hard surface.
#2: Strength Training
Seniors can also strength train, either by lifting weights, doing bodyweight exercises, performing circuit training with different stations, using resistance bands, or taking a Pilates class.
In fact, strength training is one of the most important types of exercise for seniors because it can help attenuate the natural decline in muscle mass that begins around age 40, termed sarcopenia. Pilates can simultaneously build functional core strength and improve flexibility and balance.
#3: Balance Training
Senior workout routines should definitely include balance training.
Balance exercises can be as simple as standing on one leg for 15 to 30 seconds.
#4: Mobility and Flexibility Exercises
Seniors tend to lose flexibility and mobility as they age.
The best mobility senior exercises include yoga, tai chi, dynamic stretching, and gentle mobility exercises such as hip swings, quadruped leg extensions, arm circles, and ankle circles.
These types of mobility exercises help preserve your range of motion, keep your joints and muscles healthy, and reduce the risk of falls.
How to Structure Workouts for Seniors
Even more so than in your younger years, workouts for seniors must include a proper warm-up before you jump into working out. This should include light cardio exercise and some gentle dynamic stretches to help increase circulation and loosen up before you start exercising.
We tend to get stiffer and less agile and spry as we age, particularly when you are sedentary for most of the day and then get up to work out or if you are working out first thing in the morning after sleeping all night.
If you do not properly warm up, you will not only feel stiff and have trouble performing as well in your workout, but you may also increase the risk of injury by pulling a tight muscle or tendon or straining a ligament.
After your workout, make sure to do a cool down before immediately sitting down or lying down. A cool down will help gently guide your heart rate and breathing rate back down to resting levels.
Your workout routine should include a mix of cardio, strength training, flexibility, mobility, and balance exercises.
Try to keep your workout routine as varied as possible. In other words, if your body allows it, try to do different types of cardio exercises on different days of the week.
For example, you might swim once or twice a week, take walks once or twice a week, and use an exercise bike once or twice a week.
The variety will not only keep things fresh from a mental perspective, so you don’t get bored, but it will also help prevent the risk of injuries and provide a more well-rounded training stimulus to your body.
Overall, exercising for seniors over 75 can be daunting, particularly if it has been a long time since you have been working out consistently.
However, it is important to try to exercise regularly. You will not only keep your body feeling young and strong, but you will also help keep your mood up and your anxiety at bay. In addition, consistent exercise for elderly individuals can help support better independence as they age.
For some strength training senior exercises, check out our guide: Strength Training For Over 55: Follow These 36 Exercises For Results.