As we age, the loss in Aerobic capacity and muscle strength can reduce resistance. Cardio exercises have benefits for both healthy older adults and older adults with preexisting medical conditions, such as hypertension. Before undertaking any new exercise routine, the physician must perform a complete medical examination and provide individualized guidelines as necessary.
Recommendations for Exercise
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define cardio or aerobics, such as activity or any action that increases breathing and heart rate above your normal resting rhythm, sustained for at least 10 minutes. The CDC recommends that generally healthy adults over 65 years of age should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise each week. The intensity of moderate activity increases the heart rate and breathing enough so that, although you can still talk, you would not be able to sing.
Low intensity exercises
Low intensity exercises slightly increase your heart and breathing rate, and are suitable for older adults with a wide range of medical conditions that make exercise particularly difficult or dangerous. The most standard low intensity cardio activity is walking. Walk at a slower pace than during normal activities, such as shopping, count towards your weekly goal. If your health and stamina improve, you may consider increasing the pace or length of your walks. Recreational swimming is another low-intensity cardiovascular exercise that reduces joint effort. Low-impact aerobics classes may also be available at a local facility such as a gym or recreation center.
Moderate intensity exercises
More moderate intensity exercises are generally recommended for healthy older adults. Cycling is an exercise of moderate common impact, although road cycling can have risks, especially if you struggle with balance. Instead, consider a recumbent stationary bicycle, which reduces the risk of injury. If you enjoy the pool, Olympic swimming is more vigorous than recreational swimming, although it is still soft on the joints. If you prefer to be outdoors, consider hiking as a more exhausting option than walking. Dancing is also an option, and many senior centers and gyms offer group dance classes specifically for seniors and may include swing, jazz or ballroom options.
High Intensity Exercises
High intensity or vigorous, cardiovascular exercise increases your heart rate and breathing so that speaking is difficult.One minute of vigorous exercise is equivalent to two minutes of moderate intensity exercise, so you only need 75 minutes per week to comply with CDC recommendations. High intensity cardio activities tend to put pressure on the joints and can cause injuries. If you want to include an activity such as running, try to do it on an elliptical machine, which tends to reduce the impact on the ankles and knees. Another option is cross-country skiing, a vigorous cardio exercise that incorporates muscle flexion and extension rather than muscle loading.