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Can Too Much Exercise Be Harmful to Seniors?

by Sarasota Bay Club

Staying active is one of the best ways to improve health and wellness, get stronger, and prevent brain fog from setting in. Seniors, however, must carefully balance exercise and recovery to remain healthy, especially in the later years of their lives or as their health deteriorates. So, can too much exercise be harmful to seniors?

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How often Should Seniors Exercise?

According to the CDC, physical activity is critical to healthy aging--and most people, far from getting too much exercise, are in fact getting too little. It's recommended that most adults get 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity exercise each week: 30 minutes, at least 5 times per week.

While over-exercising is certainly a risk, especially when recovering from an injury or illness, adults aged 60 years or older should try to exercise every day.


WHat are the best Exercises for seniors?

Exercise for seniors needs to be balanced between cardio, strength, and balance training. It's recommended that adults over 60 focus 2 of their 5 exercise days on muscle strengthening that includes all the major muscle groups. In addition, it's important to incorporate balance exercises, either in your aerobic or strength training or for a few minutes every day. 

Here are some exercises that seniors can do at different levels of intensity so your workout is tailored to your healthy aging goals:

  • Try out a gym class at a local community center or senior living facility.
  • Go for a brisk daily walk to engage in a moderately intense aerobic activity.
  • Or, for more vigorous exercise, you can hike, jog, or run for a shorter period of time. 
  • Gardening is a great hobby for improving your balance and motor skills while also getting the mental health benefits of being in nature.
  • Go for bike rides.
  • Find a place to go swimming or join a swimming class for seniors.
  • Try senior yoga or chair yoga to improve your balance.
  • Find a dance class. Everything from Zumba Gold to line dancing will get you moving and having fun at the same time!
  • Try weight training or bodyweight exercises to help stay strong.


How to lower exercise risks for older adults:

For seniors, taking a few precautions is one of the most effective ways to enhance exercise safety and ensure that they won't end up experiencing the negative impacts of too much exercise. These include:

  • Staying well hydrated. Keep drinking! Plenty of water or, if necessary, sports drinks with added electrolytes, can go a long way toward keeping you healthy when you're exercising.
  • Paying attention to your body. Getting a little flushed or out of breath is normal for exercise, but if you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded, you should slow down or stop exercising.
  • Taking it slow. If you're just starting a new exercise routine, don't try to dive in all at once! Instead, slowly work up what you're able to do until your endurance increases.
  • Letting someone know what you're doing. If you're going for a walk or a hike, make sure that someone knows where you are and when you're expected back.

Sarasota Bay Club is proud to offer many health and wellness classes and activities to our residents. Contact us today to schedule a tour and explore our independent living community today.

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