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4 musts in an exercise program for seniors

Updated: Mar 6, 2019

My clients who are 65 and older require some adjustments in the programming I give them. I always include these 4 basic activities in their plan,

  1. Balance -As we age, our balance often deteriorates. Falling can be particularly dangerous for a senior causing fractures, hip fractures are especially debilitating. So one way to lessen the chance of this occurring, is by including balance training. This can be as simple as standing on one leg with your eyes closed, or walking along a straight line marked on the floor.

  2. Flexibility - Joints become brittle as we move less and muscles become tighter. A comprehensive flexibility program based on muscle tightness after an initial assessment, can help identify those areas that need help through stretching and foam rolling.

  3. Strength Training - Even physically active people can lose 3-5% muscle mass every decade after age 30. Therefore it becomes extremely important to strength train consistently. If someone has never lifted, I would likely start them on a bodyweight program and progress to light weights, building endurance and eventually shift to heavier weight to emphasize strength. Weight bearing exercise is also very helpful in preventing or slowing the onset of osteoporosis and osteopenia in those who are at risk.

  4. Cardiovascular Exercise - Moderate would be 65% of maximum heart rate. A reasonable estimate of your max heart rate would be 220-age. So if you are 65: 220-65=155 x .65% =100. So you would want to do some form of cardio activity that maintains a heart rate of 100bpm. You can also use this heart rate calculator to determine the correct rate for you. If you have not exercised or have a heart condition, please consult your doctor before taking on an exercise program. So go for a walk, ride a bike, use the elliptical at a gym or a stationary bike if you are unsure of yourself on a bike outside. The important thing is to mix it up. Try a few different activities and do what you enjoy!

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