Exercise can provide the strength, vigor, endurance, and flexibility in older adults comparable to those who are thirty years younger. In addition, and probably most importantly for most seniors, regular exercise decreases one's dependence on others for everyday activities (i.e., shopping, cooking, etc.). A study was published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (July 6th, 2011) regarding how much resistance training exercise is needed for older adults compared to younger people. The study found that older adults (60-75 years of age) need to exercise more than younger people (20-35 years of age) in order to maintain muscle mass and reduce the risk of sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is significant muscle loss as a result of aging and inactivity.
If you haven't exercised for quite some time, here are the exercise guidelines:
- F: resistance training: 2 to 3 non-consecutive days per week; cardio training: 3 to 5 days/week
- I: resistance training: less than 80% 1-RM; cardio training: 40-75% HRR
- T: resistance training: 10 to 30 mins (8-15 reps/set for 1-3 sets); cardio training: 10 to 60 minutes (intermittent or continuous)
- T: resistance training: resistance machines, flex bands, cables, and free weights as needed incorporating high repetitions in general, increase reps before loads; cardio training: walking, swimming, cycling, stair stepping
- STRETCHING: stretch everyday to slight discomfort 2 to 4 times per stretch and hold each stretch for up to 30 seconds
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."