First, let’s review what aerobic exercise is exactly. Also known as cardio, aerobic activities exercise your cardiovascular system. They pump oxygenated blood from the heart to other working muscles. In fact, “aerobic” actually means “with oxygen.” If you perform aerobic exercises regularly, you may decrease your risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure, increase your “good” cholesterol, better control your blood sugar, improve your lung function, and more. According to the American Heart Association, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity per week to maintain good health.
Aerobic Exercises for Seniors
What counts as aerobic exercise? Any activity that gets your heart beating faster. Technically, you’ll need to get your heart rate into the “aerobic zone,” which is 55 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, and keep it there for 10 minutes or more. If you aren’t sure whether an activity counts as aerobic, just ask your doctor. The following are great aerobic exercises for seniors:
- Brisk Walking or Jogging: If exercise intimidates you, why not start with a brisk walk? Anyone can do it, and you can walk indoors or outdoors depending on the weather. If you’re up for it, you could also increase your speed to a light jog. Either way, be sure that you wear supportive shoes with good traction.
- Swimming: Swimming is an excellent low-impact activity, which means it won’t put excess pressure on your joints. Many people find that this full-body workout helps ease their stress as well. You could simply swim laps or . . .
- Water Aerobics: . . . why not take a water aerobics class? With the water supporting your limbs and preventing dangerous falls, water aerobics is another effective low-impact workout. It can enhance your balance and coordination, improve your cardiovascular strength, and tone your muscles. Plus, it can be a great way to make new friends.
- Dance Cardio: If you find standard exercises off-putting, why not try dance cardio? While you get your groove on, you’ll get your heart pumping and burn some calories. Most dance cardio classes fuse musical rhythms and choreographed dance moves with strengthening exercises. They’re dynamic, efficient, and (most importantly) fun.
- Chair Aerobics: Believe it or not, you can actually get an effective aerobic workout while sitting on your butt! Chair aerobics is low-impact and accessible – all you typically need is a standard chair. To get started, simply search for chair aerobics on YouTube.
Ready to try one of these aerobic exercises for seniors? Consult your doctor, physical therapist, or fitness trainer before you get started to ensure that you don’t stretch yourself beyond your limits. Good luck!
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