To Be An Active Older Adult, Just Get Moving

Laura Cloukey, DO, Medical Director, The Villages Health®, has a simple answer for seniors looking for exercise ideas. Just get moving.

The following is a transcription of the video: 

Exercise and physical activity is vital for any senior. There’s all different kinds of exercise and activities that can benefit a senior. If you mention it, I’ll agree with it. Because any exercise and any activity is going to benefit a senior. A lot of seniors get turned off about exercise, because they’re worried about the aerobic section of it. And that “I can’t … I don’t have the wind … I don’t have the stamina.” It doesn’t have to be that heroic. It can be very, very basic. Walking, in different speeds. Did you know there are three speeds in the walk? Just walking. And you know what else is nice about walking? It’s free. You don’t have to join a fancy sports club. You don’t have to wear fancy clothes. All you have to do is wear good shoeware and get out there and do it. The American College of Cardiology says: 30 minutes, 5 days a week. That’s a 150 minutes. Anybody can do that.

I think that it would be prudent to consult with your doctor before performing activities. You’re doctor, unlike anyone else, has a really good idea of your capability. They know your lab work, they know your consultation reports, they know your blood pressure and your pulse. They take all of that into consideration, when they give you guidelines … bumpers, if you will, with regards to how you may or may not proceed safely into the activities you want. The kinds of questions I think that you should ask your doctor is … first of all, share with him or her what the activity is you plan on doing. From there the doctor can then gauge whether you’re fit or not for that. The questions you might ask is

“When should I take my medication with regards to when I plan on exercising.”

“What should my maximum heart rate be while I am exercising.”

“How should I manage my hydration before during and after I exercise.”

“How much is too much. Can you give me parameters on what that may or may not look like.”

I think keeping a diary and keeping a journal is a very effective idea. Not only with calorie counting, but also with exercise. The best way to do it is pull out a calendar, just for exercise, and write in the blocks every day exactly what you did. You have a couple of days in a row that have empty blocks, you need to think about that. How are you going to fill those blocks? What activity do you like?

The do’s of physical activity are to actually just go do. Any physical activity is beneficial. It doesn’t have to be practically at the level of an Olympian. It can be just walking to the mailbox and back. The don’ts would be, don’t be silly. You know where your limits are. You know if you start getting short of breath. You know if you feel any chest pressure. Or you know if you probably won’t be able to get back from the distance that you walked because it seems just too far. So, you really do need to use your common sense for your do’s and your don’ts.

The kinds of activities that can really physically benefit a senior, I can answer with one word. All. Anything. Just move your body. Get your blood moving. Whether it’s playing bocce, throwing darts, cycling, water aerobics, Zumba, square dancing … it doesn’t matter. Just move your blood.


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Last updated: 07.22.2017

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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