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How Workouts Boost Seniors’ Fitness and Strength

Published: 2023-01-11
How Workouts Boost Seniors’ Fitness and Strength
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Far from slowing down when they are older, human beings are meant to stay active throughout their lifetime.

The CDC recommends that adults aged 65 or over exercise (moderately) at least 150 minutes per week or vigorously for around 75 minutes. Seniors are also recommended to partake in muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week, as well as balance-improving workouts three days a week.

Seniors don’t need to limit themselves to brisk walking or swimming. In fact, the CDC includes hiking and running in their list of intense activities recommended for older adults. Below are more workouts that are taking the senior world by storm.


Chair Yoga

Yoga as a whole is loved by millions of people of all ages across the globe. However, when it comes to seniors with osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis in older adults), it can be a lifesaver. A study by University Florida Atlantic students has found that seniors with osteoarthritis in their lower extremities (hips, knees, ankles, or feet) can reduce their pain and improve their quality of light without the need for medication if they practice chair yoga. This activity essentially involves performing an array of postures, using a chair to enhance stability and boost confidence.



Resistance Band Training

A study by Penn State researchers has found that older adults who meet their twice-weekly strength training goals have a lower chance of death from all causes, as well as from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Their research showed that only 9% of seniors actually achieve this goal. Ideal strength workouts for seniors include chair squats, side planks, and wall push-ups. Seniors can also use resistance workout bands, which can be used to boost whole-body strength, as well as to target specific muscle groups, both in the upper and lower body. The use of these bands is popular among seniors who like to work out on the go since a myriad of exercises can be performed outdoors as well as indoors.


High-Intensity Exercise

If you thought that high-intensity workouts were only for the young, think again! Researchers at McMaster University have found that high-intensity exercise not only boosts physical strength but also enhances mental agility in older people. In particular, it improves memory, with findings showing that HIIT workouts can improve memory performance by up to 30%. In the study, seniors were asked to perform four sets of high-intensity exercises on a treadmill for four minutes, after which they enjoyed a recovery period. The researchers stated that it was never too late to benefit the brain. However, those who are starting late should consider high-intensity workouts as a way to reap greater benefits. They concluded that exercise is a useful method to delay the onset of dementia.


Harnessing the Power of Group Exercise

Regardless of which type of exercise you enjoy doing, aim to do so as part of a group. University of British Columbia researchers conducted a study that found that older adults were more likely to stick to their exercise routines if they were joined by other people of a similar age.

Working out with peers of the same gender doesn’t have the same effect, researchers noted; it’s the age that matters! The study, which recruited 627 adults over a 24-week period, found that those who worked out with people their own age attended almost 10 more exercise classes than those who worked out in mixed-age groups.

Participants were given customized T-shirts that identified them as part of a specific group, thus strengthening their team spirit and sense of connection. Sticking to your workout can, indeed, be much more motivational if you look forward to the social interaction that occurs before, during, and after a workout. Friends met at exercise classes can become vital sources of support, both in and out of gym/workout settings.



Seniors can take part in a host of activities to stay physically and mentally fit. From jogging to outdoor yoga, there are many ways to entertain oneself while keeping the effects of aging at bay. Chair yoga, strength training, and high-intensity workouts are just three popular workouts among seniors, with researchers finding that all these approaches can bring great benefits to people aged over 65. The results are even more positive when group exercise is involved.