Your fitness needs change as you get older. While your body strength and response times may decline, they decline only 3.4 percent per year between the ages of 50 and 75, according to a study published in the March 2008 edition of the вЂњAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine.вЂќ Exercising your full body retains muscle mass, bone strength and flexibility. Exercises that work multiple muscle groups provide more effective use of your workout time and energy.
Although an exercise program for older adults may be less strenuous than that for younger individuals, it needs to remain a priority. Exercise delays or prevents the onset of diabetes, cardiac issues, osteoarthritis, obesity and some cancers, according to the policy statement issued by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2009. This can increase your life span and provide greater quality of life. Exercise keeps your muscles and bones strong, thus increasing your ability to live independently. Exercise may also increase your cognitive abilities and reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's, according to a study published in the вЂњNew England Journal of Medicine" on June 19, 2003.
Senior adult full-body workouts should include cardiorespiratory, flexibility and strengthening components, according to the American College of Sports Medicine policy statement. Exercise activities such as aerobic dance, swimming, water aerobics and some forms of dance include these components. Water aerobics and swimming, for example, offer the resistance of water to increase your muscle and bone strength, low- to no-impact exercise that increases flexibility without stress on your joints, cardio benefits at various intensity levels, and the added benefit of strengthening your ability to maintain balance. You can increase your resistance component by adding weights during water aerobics and dance aerobics, if you want more emphasis on strength.
Dr. Bruce Craig, Professor Emeritus of Physical Education at Ball State University, recommends that you use various exercises and exercise types during your full-body workout. Variety serves various purposes, including reducing the chance that you will become bored or overdo your activities. For example, you could dance on Mondays, take a water aerobics or swim class on Wednesday, walk on Tuesday and Thursday with friends and do circuit training at the fitness center on Friday. The schedule offers full-body exercise at least every other day and allows you sufficient time to recover from any strenuous workout, a component Craig says is important for seniors.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you exercise at least 10 minutes per day, with a goal of 30 minutes per day and a combination of moderate and vigorous exercise during the week. Include strength training at least two days per week and flexibility exercises twice per week. Include balance and mobility exercises if you have problems with falling or moving. Check with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations and cautions.