Cardio for Seniors 2
Follow A Plan
It’s easy to start working out, but finding the motivation to keep going day after day can be a lot more difficult. Sure, you can just choose an exercise that you like and start doing it, but it will be much more effective, long-lasting, and motivational if you actually have a clear cut plan. There are three main components to aerobic or cardio exercise, those being heart and lung performance, muscle endurance, and your overall functional capacity. You should include each of the following elements into your workout routine to make it both as effective and safe as possible.
- High Intensity & Short Bouts – The best way to increase the function of your heart and lungs is to get your heart pumping quicker, up to 70-80% of your maximum heart rate; this will train your heart and lungs to be able to deliver blood and oxygen throughout the body more efficiently. Remember, high intensity is different for everyone, so you shouldn’t be scared of the term, because it simply means working out at a higher intensity than your body is used to. What you are looking for here is to increase your heart rate significantly, and for some people that may mean going on an uphill bike ride, while for other people it could mean going for a brisk walk. As you go on, and as you stick with your routine, it will slowly take more and more to get your heart to the same increased level that you are looking to go for, and that’s how you know it’s working. For elderly people it is recommended to do roughly 3 bouts of high intensity exercise per each, each bout lasting 15-20 minutes.
- Medium Intensity & Longer Bouts – You need to train your whole body to really get the full effects of exercise, which means that you need to work out all of your muscles to really achieve the results that you are looking for. It is therefore very important to engage in a wide variety of exercises that will strain and train your whole body from top to bottom. For example, walking on flat ground, walking uphill, walking downhill, and cycling will all train your legs, but do so in different ways; you need to do all of them to get the full effects and desired results. Those exercises are great for your legs, but your upper body needs a workout too, thus, you can try things like swimming, water aerobics, tennis, and even light weight lifting to train those muscles. The point of these exercises is to train your endurance as well as your muscles, therefore you should do these kinds of exercises for a longer period of time, anywhere between 30-60 minutes, while also making sure that the intensity level is not too high. Depending on your fitness level you can start with as little as 20 minutes per day, and once you feel better about it, you can increase that time all the way up to 1 hour; try to do this up to 4 times per week, but no more.
- Stretching, Warming Up, & Cooling Down – As you get older, your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons all become stiffer and less mobile. In the long run, this means that you have a greater risk of injury during exercise, because cool and stiff muscles don’t like to move, especially so in old age, and that means that getting them limber and warmed up is even more crucial in old age. Stretching, warming up and cooling down are all really important parts of exercise, and are great ways to help avoid injury. You should take roughly 10-15 minutes before each exercise routine to warm up, and you should take at least 5 minutes to cool down after the workout as well. This will ensure that you won’t injure your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, or injure them more than the old age has already. Great ways to stay limber and to warm up at the same time include exercises such as Tai chi, yoga, and Pilates; these are all great for stretching and for your overall fitness level as well.