Which types of exercise are best for seniors?

The type of exercise will depend on the individuals.  Some seniors have been exercising all their lives and are able to complete different varieties of exercise without issue.  On the other side, some seniors have never taken part in exercise and are just starting. 

First, we must see what level the individual is at.  Second, we must construct a program that will help give the individual benefits from balance/stability training, and core training.  These two styles of exercise may be all they need.  Others may be able to take part in some anaerobic and aerobic training but this will depend on their current fitness level.

A well rounded workout routine should include some form of weight bearing cardio exercise such as walking as well as resistance training and flexibility training.  Running is ok for some but is a high impact activity, which may be contraindicated for many seniors.  Cycling and swimming are also good aerobic exercises; however, they do little for helping to sustain or improve bone density so you want to be sure to get in some walking time.  Core exercises such as Pilates, Tai Chi and stability ball training are excellent for strengthing the stabilizer muscles and aiding in balance.  Yoga is great for toning, stability and flexibility.

As we age, our muscles not only atrophe to some degree, but we actually lose some muscle fiber.  Using even light weights during resistance training can help one maintain more muscle, which is very important in helping keep the metabolism fired up, as well as maintaining or even increasing strength endurance and balance.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.