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Keeping your body in great health is one of the greatest responsibilities faced by us all, and maintaining an appropriate level of physical activity is unquestionably one of the most significant factors. Regular exercise can prevent a host of health issues while enabling us to lead healthier, happier lives. Seniors should pay particular importance to those requirements.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services produced the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008 to provide insight for individuals of all ages. Here’s everything seniors need to know about activity levels, durations, and types.

Guidelines for Adults (that Seniors should acknowledge)

  • Inactivity must be avoided on a daily basis. Even a small amount of physical activity is better than nothing while research shows that participating in any amount of physical activity will bring some benefits.
  • Adults who want to see substantial rewards should aim for either 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity or 1.25 hours (75 minutes) of aerobic exercise at a vigorous intensity each week. Activities should be spread out across the week with each session lasting at least 10 minutes.
  • Adults seeking extensive health benefits should aim for 5 hours (300 minutes) of aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity or 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of aerobic exercise at vigorous intensity each week. Increasing this further can bring additional rewards.
  • Adults should additionally add moderate or high-intensity muscle strengthening exercises at least two times each week. These exercises should engage all core muscle groups and will support the body in many ways.

Guidelines specifically for Seniors

  • Seniors are advised to respect their physical limitations. If they cannot complete 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise, they should try to stay as active as their bodies allow. This could mean doing short bursts of activity while using an outdoor wheelchair to get around.
  • Seniors should also tailor their intensity levels according to their current fitness. Taking on vigorous activities when the body won’t respond well to it is never a suitable option. Slow, low-intensity exercise is fine even if you are using an adult medical walker at times.
  • Seniors suffering from chronic conditions should appreciate the way it affects their ability to perform regular exercise in a safe manner. Seniors can also speak to medical experts and personal fitness trainers about appropriate activities.
  • Seniors should add multicomponent physical activity that incorporates balance training as well as aerobic and muscle strengthening elements. This brings a wealth of benefits that can keep you safe and healthy in later life.

Guidelines for safe activities

  • Seniors should understand the risks associated with any activity they wish to perform, particularly in relation to their limitations. 
  • All adults should start at a suitable level and focus on gradual improvements rather than trying to do too much too soon.
  • All adults should wear the appropriate clothing and use the right equipment. For seniors, this can include mobility scooters for before and after the session.
  • Seniors suffering from any chronic condition should speak to health advisors before taking on any new exercise or altering their habits in any way.

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