Regular exercise helps control blood pressure, strengthen your heart and bones, increase energy and reduce depression. Dr. Deborah Rohm Young, chair of the American Heart Association’s Physical Activity Subcommittee, recommends regular physical activity for every person, including senior citizens. The bottom line is, you’re never too old to exercise! Of course, if you have a chronic condition, consult your physician before starting an exercise program.
Rohm Young shares her cardio, strength training and stretching tips for seniors to help you create a workout routine you can do throughout the week and build upon. “Participating in physical activity will make you feel better almost immediately," she says, "and it's best to exercise 30 minutes per day, at least five days per week, for the best benefit.”
If you’ve led a sedentary lifestyle, start by walking around your yard or neighborhood. Start slowly and build up from there. Start with 10 minutes a day and aim for 30 minutes. When you’re ready, you can increase intensity by adding light hand weights.
The American Heart Association also recommends muscle strengthening activities at least two days a week. These can be done from a sitting position for beginners, and as you build up your strength and balance you can move to standing.
At the end of each exercise session, be sure to stretch. Muscles tend to contract and tense up, and regular stretching sessions will help you to remain flexible and relaxed. Stretching should occur after exercise when muscles are warmed up. Never stretch cold muscles, because this could lead to injury or muscle soreness.
You can read more about the importance of regular exercise for seniors as well as get examples of the exercises Dr. Rohm Young suggests at: