Regular physical activity is a key pillar of good health throughout the ages, with recent studies showing that exercise in older adults can help them boost their memory, cut their risk of chronic disease, and battle anxiety and depression. If you wish to get back to your former fitness level or you are taking up regular exercise after a hiatus, the first step to take is to see your doctor to have a medical checkup and obtain recommendations and approval for specific exercises. Next, a qualified fitness professional can help suggest specific exercises that will help boost your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility. When crafting your workout routine, keep the following considerations in mind.

Don’t Stick Exclusively to Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise has numerous benefits for adults over 50. It allows the pulmonary system to increase the amount of oxygen the lungs can handle, tones the heart and pumps blood and oxygen to muscles. The recommended amount of aerobic exercise for people in this age is approximately 150 minutes per week, which can be divided into three sessions (lasting 50 minutes) per week if desired. Strength and resistance exercises are also key, however. As human beings age, they lose up to 5% of their muscle every decade after the age of 30, unless they train regularly. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends that older adults start with two days of strength training per week, leaving a day for rest in between. Stretching is also important, as it helps maintain flexibility and serves as a good warmup prior to cardiovascular and strength training exercises.


High-Intensity Exercise and Memory

Scientists at McMaster University have shown that high-intensity exercise improves memory in older adults. Those who exercise in short bursts of activity saw improvements of up to 30%. The usual protocol for high-intensity workouts involves four sets of high-intensity work on a treadmill for four minutes, followed by recovery. Once again, this is one workout type you should ideally run by your health professionals and trainers first.


Boost Your Brain Power with Yoga

In addition to completing cardio and strength workouts, aim to incorporate holistic exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi into your regular routine. These and other mindfulness-based pursuits have been found to be powerful natural stress busters. However, they also have major benefits for your brain health. One 2017 study published in the journal Frontiers, for instance, showed that older adults who do yoga regularly have greater brain mass in areas associated with attention and memory. One of the best things about yoga is that you can practice key stretches and poses like the airplane asana while sitting at your desk and working or when you are commuting. This post simply involves bending forward and placing your hands on your knees then arching your back and straightening your arms, feeling a delicious lengthening of your body. You can also perform seated twists and hip stretches to keep moving while you’re working.


Consider Group Exercise

Who you exercise with can be just as important as the type of workouts you choose. Recent research has shown that older adults are more likely to stick to an exercise regime if they take part in group workouts. Friends can help motivate and challenge you so if you can, add one or two group sessions to your weekly workout.


Exercise is vital for people over 50 who wish to stay fit and enjoy good brain health. If you are starting a routine after a long pause, see your doctor and invest in a personal trainer, so you can feel more confident during every step of your comeback. Try to balance cardio, strength, and holistic exercises into your routine.

Sally Perkins

Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.


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