May 29, 2023

Work out to improve heart health, flexibility and strength

Fitness and Exercise Recommendations for Seniors

The CDC/ACSM recommends that all adults should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days of the week. Cardiorespiratory (aerobic) endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises should all be part of a physical activity program for Senior Citizens. No one type of activity will bring about all the benefits of physical activity. It is important to include all of them. Senior Citizens can meet the physical activity recommendation with a combination of these activities using the following sample schedule:

  • Cardiorespiratory: Participate in moderate-intensity aerobic activities 3-5 days a week for at least 30 minutes each session.
  • Flexibility*: Stretch every day.
  • Strength training: Do strength-building activities 2-3 days per week.

*Flexibility refers to how fully one’s joints or limbs are able to move. Being flexible allows for easier movements and reduced pain in joints so that it is also easier to perform daily activities of independent living. By adding stretching to your daily physical activity plan, you can help keep your joints flexible which will help you move with more freedom and comfort.

Participating in these types of activities can help you more easily perform many of your day-to-day tasks. For example, being more flexible will help you more easily do things like reaching in your cupboard and tying your shoes. Being stronger and having more balance will help you lift and carry items like sacks of groceries and will make it easier to get in and out of chairs and the bathtub. Improving your cardiorespiratory endurance will allow you to do things like climbing stairs, dancing, or playing with grandchildren without getting out of breath.

The chart below provides ideas of activities in the areas of cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, and flexibility. Many of these activities will also help improve your balance. Most importantly, choose activities that you enjoy. This will make it more likely that you’ll keep doing them!

Cardiorespiratory Strength Flexibility
Walking Chair exercises Stretching
Swimming Lifting weights or cans Yoga
Dancing Carrying laundry or groceries Tai chi
Skating Working in the yard  
Hiking Washing the car  
Rolling your wheelchair Scrubbing the floor  

Including cardiorespiratory, strength, and flexibility activities in your weekly routine may sound like a challenge.