5 Aerobic Exercises for Seniors: Workouts for Better Health

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If you’re looking for suitable aerobic exercises for seniors, you’ve come to the right place.

Exercising is easy when you’re young and healthy, but it’s a struggle when you’re older and have health problems. 

Fortunately, I’m here to help you with the best aerobic exercises for seniors to keep one’s body in shape.

Just keep reading. 

Key Takeaways

  • Low to moderate-intensity level exercises, such as running or walking, are an excellent choice for seniors. 
  • Aerobic exercises can improve health, increase physical activity, and enhance strength. 
  • Always consult your health provider about how much time you should exercise.  

What Is an Aerobic Exercise? 

Before getting to my list of the best aerobic exercises for seniors, let’s talk about what aerobic means and how it differs from other types of exercise.

As experts from WebMD explain,

“Aerobic exercise is cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, that gets your heart pumping.It also strengthens your lungs and improves your body’s ability to use oxygen. (1)

You shouldn’t confuse it with anaerobic exercise, which involves short but intense bursts of physical activity, such as sprinting.

On the other hand, strength training focus on building your muscles, while balance exercises help to improve your stability. 

But which aerobic exercises are suitable for seniors? Let’s find out!   

5 Best Aerobic Exercises for Seniors

Cardio exercises come in a wide variety, but not all are suitable for elderly people, especially those with heart disease and chronic conditions.

But most seniors can manage moderate-intensity physical activities, such as the ones suggested below. Still, you should consult your health provider about what exercise is best for you. 

#1 Brisk Walking

Brisk walking is an excellent aerobic exercise for seniors that can reduce the risk of heart problems, lower blood pressure, and improve one’s mood. 

And it’s easy to do. Just walk at a fast pace to give your cardiovascular system a workout. You’ll know if you’re walking fast enough if you can talk but can’t sing. 

Even slow walking on a regular basis can be a good exercise for seniors that tire quickly or are afraid of falling. Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of walking. 

You must spend at least 150 minutes brisk walking per week to stay fit. But you don’t have to do it in one day – plan for five 30-minute weekly walks, for example. 

A tip from me. Wear comfortable shoes that support your ankles to reduce the risk of falls and walk in familiar, populated areas. 

#2 Swimming

Can you swim? Then swimming or water aerobics is an excellent choice for your exercise routine because it can improve your strength and boost your endurance.

Swimming is also perfect for seniors, including those looking for exercise for women over 60, because the risk of injury is low, and you get your heart rate up without straining your body too much.

More importantly, this aerobic exercise suits people with limited mobility, disability, and joint pain. For those who may not be comfortable in the water or are looking for alternatives, seated lower back exercises for seniors can also provide effective relief and strength training.

Aim for 10 to 30 minutes of aquatic exercises several times per week. Start slow and increase the duration every week.

However, swimming can affect people with heart problems, so consult your doctor if water aerobics suits you and stop if you feel any chest discomfort.

#3 Running 

Running is another cardio workout suitable for seniors. It can strengthen your muscles, improve your heart health, and help you lose weight.  

seniors exercising

The most important thing is to start slow. Aim for 20-30 minutes of running twice weekly and slowly increase the distance and duration. 

#4 Cycling

Cycling is a great aerobic activity for boosting endurance and improving leg strength. It’s also suitable to burn some calories and body fat. 

And do you know the best things? You can use a regular bike or try the stationary bike in your fitness center if you do not like outdoor activities.  

Start with 5 to 10 minutes of cycling and then pick up the pace for another 10 minutes. If it’s not challenging enough for your activity level, increase the bike’s resistance.   

#5 Dancing

Most people don’t consider dancing a form of exercise. But dancing is an easy way to enhance your endurance, improve muscle strength, and boost your mental health.

Dancing can also help you maintain a healthy weight and help you with your coordination, balance, and stability. And according to studies, dancing can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

And now, let’s talk about why seniors should consider aerobic exercises, even if they have an existing health condition. 

Here’s a cool tutorial:

Here’s a brief video summary.

What Are the Health Benefits of Aerobic Exercises for Seniors? 

I’ve already mentioned some benefits of exercise for seniors, such as better cardiovascular health, improved muscle strength, and increased endurance. 

But besides a healthy heart, aerobic exercises have other significant benefits for the entire body, such as: 

  • Better blood pressure control. I had problems with my blood pressure, but including more aerobic exercises in my daily routine made a huge difference. 
  • Exercising before bed can improve your sleep and help you manage insomnia.
  • According to studies, aerobic exercises can improve physical performance and reduce the risk of injury in older adults. It can also improve cognitive functions. (2)
  • Light activity can improve your mood and help you combat anxiety, stress, and depression. 
  • Exercising regularly maintains muscle strength, so you have fewer problems when performing daily activities. 

How Much Time Should Seniors Exercise?

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for seniors to keep the heart healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease. (3)

seniors enjoying yoga

However, if you’ve never exercised, start slowly to avoid overwhelming your body. And if you have knee problems, you should avoid high-impact exercises, such as jumping or running.  

FAQs

1. How can I increase my stamina after 70? 

You can increase your stamina after 70 by doing endurance exercises like walking, cycling, swimming, or low-impact aerobics. 

2. What is the best cardio for a weak heart?

The best cardio workout for your heart depends on your fitness level and heart condition. You can try walking, swimming, or yoga after you consult your doctor. 

3. How can seniors get stronger legs?

Seniors can improve their leg strength through muscle-strengthening activities, such as step-ups, lunges, cycling, or ankle circles. 

Conclusion

Seniors can do plenty of aerobic exercises to maintain healthy muscle, improve core strength, and control chronic illnesses like high blood pressure.

And seniors can partake in plenty of forms of exercise outside of fitness classes and gyms, so you don’t have to worry about expenses.  

However, always consult your health provider about what aerobic exercises suit your condition. Some intense workouts can make your condition worse.

What do you think about these aerobic exercises for seniors? Which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

Resources:

1. Contributors WE. What Are Aerobic Exercises? [Internet]. WebMD. 2021. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-are-aerobic-exercises

2. Bai X, Soh KG, Omar Dev RD, Talib O, Xiao W, Soh KL, et al. Aerobic Exercise Combination Intervention to Improve Physical Performance Among the Elderly: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Physiology. 2022;12.

3. American Heart Association. American heart association recommendations for physical activity in adults and kids [Internet]. American Heart Association. 2018. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults

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