No matter how old you are it is important to take part in fitness and sports activities on a regular basis.
A lack of activity in those who are older can cause serious health problems and reduced mobility, leading to pains and aches when eventually doing small activities, like walking to the shop.
The intensity of the activities that elderly people do will depend on person to person. As we age, we become more fragile and different health conditions can increase the speed at which this happens. It is important that people exercise at their own pace and what they feel most comfortable at – pushing too hard can cause more damage than good.
Light exercise will most likely not make an elderly person lose their breath or raise their heart rate, but it is a good way to add intervals into long periods of sitting down or laying down.
Brief spurts of light activity include walking around the home at a slow pace, to make a drink or to do a bit of dusting and cleaning. All types of activity, no matter how gentle or light is still better than none.
Moderate exercise is slightly more intense than light exercise but is not completely overwhelming. A good way to tell whether an exercise or activity counts as moderate is if you are able to carry out a conversation but not sing whilst carrying out the activity. People should aim to fit around 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise into their week.
Examples of some moderate activities include the following:
- Water aerobics
If an elderly person is already quite active, they could try to aim for 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week instead of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Increasing the intensity of moderate exercises to make them intense is an easy way to move from moderate to vigorous. Cycling uphill rather than cycling on flat ground is a good example of how people can up the intensity of moderate exercises.
Examples of some vigorous activities include the following:
- Fast swimming
- Uphill hiking
- Fast-paced dancing
If variety is needed among the fitness and sports routine, older people could try mixing up both moderate exercise and vigorous aerobic exercise weekly. For example, walking one day and faster swimming the next.