How Aerobics for Seniors Helps to Be Healthy Strong

Most noteworthy, people 60 and over start to show signs of physiological aging. For example, their gait isn’t as long or as quick as it was when they were younger. Or they get tired sooner. In fact, physiological aging is characterized by a decline in the maximal aerobic capacity of their lungs, and, a decline in their skeletal muscle strength. Consequently, aerobics for seniors helps ward off these declines and helps seniors become and stay healthy.

Maximal Aerobic Capacity

First of all, maximal aerobic capacity is defined as the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during incrementally increasing exercise intensity. In fact, maximal aerobic capacity is an indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness.  Furthermore, the lung’s maximal aerobic capacity determines the intensity and duration of aerobics seniors can tolerate and do.

In addition, the greater the lung’s maximal aerobic capacity, the more intense aerobics seniors can do and do them for longer periods of time. Most of all, outward signs of reduced maximal aerobic capacity appear during aerobics for seniors, when seniors engage in aerobic physical activities. During these aerobic activities, seniors may start running out of breath earlier than when they were younger, or, do the aerobics with lower intensity. Finally, lower maximal aerobic capacity limits senior to functionally perform some physical activities.

Why Maximal Aerobic Capacity is Important for Seniors

Now, sedentary lifestyles cause the maximal aerobic capacity to decrease nearly 44 percent in males and 34 percent in females from the age of 20 to the age of 60. Seniors whose maximal aerobic capacity has dropped significantly become very challenged to autonomously complete activities of daily living. Consequently, it is important for seniors to work at increasing their maximal aerobic capacity.

And one of the most important ways to do that is with aerobics. Aerobics for seniors have been known to increase maximal aerobic capacity by nearly 13 percent in an eight to ten weeks senior aerobic training programs. Senior aerobic training programs of twelve to eighteen weeks have resulted in nearly 14 percent improvement, while 24 to 52 weeks of senior aerobic training has resulted in a nearly 17 percent improvement. Participating in aerobic training program or even doing aerobics independently potentially delays loss of independence. Finally, higher intensity aerobics leads to even greater improvements in maximal aerobic capacity. In fact, an increase of 25 percent is like getting back an estimated 12 years of vigor.

Cardio for Seniors

Cardio or aerobic workouts force the heart and lungs to pump more blood and oxygen to the muscles, brain, and the body. Consequently, cardio for seniors are hugely helpful for their health. In fact, regular cardio workouts cause the entire pulmonary system to increase the lung’s maximum oxygen capacity.

Aerobics for Seniors - Guidelines

Especially relevant, the latest senior aerobic guidelines recommend seniors get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic workout each week. However, if chronic conditions limit seniors to less than 150 minutes, seniors should be as physically active as possible.

In addition, when doing aerobics seniors should raise their heart rate for stretches of 10 minutes.  And in that time, seniors should do either moderately intense or vigorously intense aerobics.

Furthermore, the minimum time for moderately intense cardio is 30 minutes on each of the five days of the week. Moreover, seniors will get even more benefits if they exercise for 60 minutes on each of the five days.

On the other hand, seniors don’t have to do it all in one stretch. Indeed, seniors can break up the 30 minutes into shorter aerobic workouts of at least 10 minutes each. Most of all, only the total time spent on aerobic workouts should be at least 150 minutes per week.

Finally, for less fit adults,  recommendations also encourage the accumulation of relatively hard physical activity in intermittent periods of exercise and physical activity lasting 10 minutes or longer throughout the course of the day.

Aerobics for Seniors – Unstructured Activities

Lastly the 2007 ACSM/AHA guidelines seniors include unstructured approaches to increasing physical movement. These unstructured activities include:

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    Going for a walk after dinner
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    Frequently taking the dog for a walk
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    Walking briskly when doing errands
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    Parking the car as far away from the entrance as possible
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    Taking walking breaks instead of coffee breaks
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    Doing more energetic housework (for example, vacuuming)
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    Using stairs in place of elevators
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    Doing more mall walking
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    Lastly, while watching TV or reading a book, using desk pedals or ellipticals to exercise arms and legs

Subjective Measures of Intensity

As a rule, aerobics for seniors is done at a moderate intensity when the seniors breathing and heart rates are noticeably higher. However, seniors can still carry on a full conversation, except that their breathing may be heavier and or they may be sweating. In addition, on a 10-point scale, with zero being a state of rest, moderate intensity workouts would be a 5 or 6 on the 10-point scale.

As another way to get a grasp of moderate intensity, walking a distance of two miles in 30 to 40 minutes (or a walking speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour) would meet the definition of moderate physical activity.

Aerobics for Seniors

Seniors need just as much exercise as those under age 65. Furthermore, seniors can choose from a wide variety of available workouts. In fact, their choices include, swimming, walking, jogging, water aerobics, ballroom dancing, rowing, bicycling, to name just a few. And if you prefer going to the gym or sports clubs, you have your choice of treadmills, several kinds of elliptical machines, stair climbers, several kinds of cycles, and even rowing machines. Treadmills are great for walking because they provide a cushion for your feet. Elliptical machines, on the other hand, keep your feet grounded to the pedals. As a result, they are good for you back, hips, and knees. Furthermore, you can use spin cycles, upright bikes, or even recumbent bikes that provide back support.

Not into Aerobics - Seniors Can Still Get Brain Benefits

The Western University in Ontario, Canada reported in a 2019 study  that even with short burst of reasonably low intense aerobics, seniors can improve their brain health. Researchers found that even only 10 minutes of senior aerobic activity, like walking, on a treadmill improves cognitive functions (such as memory and attention) of seniors. Moreover, these benefits are achievable even by seniors who hadn’t exercised for a long time. The study of 17 seniors, with an average age of 73, found that boost in executive functions, such as planning and organizing, was achievable with aerobic exercise intensities ranging from moderate, heavy, and vigorous levels.

And these benefits are not limited to seniors with high levels of cardio-respiratory fitness. In fact, these benefits are achieved by seniors across a spectrum of senior aerobic intensities as well as across a spectrum of fitness levels. Meanwhile, seniors realize the cognitive benefits almost immediately.