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Senior Exercise -
Putting Together a Complete
Exercise Program

When putting together your senior exercise program, it’s important to make sure you take a well-rounded approach. The various components of fitness are like the ingredients of a cake. If you leave one out, things don’t turn out quite right. Take a look at each area below and see if there’s any you are neglecting.

Cardiovascular Exercise – This should be the foundation of any senior exercise program. In essence, cardiovascular exercise just means that you are doing an activity that raises your heart rate above resting level for an extended period of time. It does not need to be intense to be of benefit. Instead, think more about how often you do it and for how long.

You should aim for thirty minutes or more at least three days a week, preferably every day. This keeps your heart healthy and increases your energy levels. Some of the most common ways to do cardiovascular training are by walking, riding a stationary bike, water exercises, or using a rowing machine.

Strength Training – Strong muscles make life easier. Strength training involves you using weights, bands, machines, or your own body weight to place a stress on your muscles. This stress then encourages your muscles to grow stronger. Your goal when doing a weight-training workout should be to use each muscle group at least once. Focus on breathing naturally and moving in a controlled manner, and don’t use a weight that is beyond your ability level.

A typical senior exercise program would include two or three days of strength training per week. The strength workouts should be spaced out over the course of the week so you don’t do two days in a row. You should do about ten exercises for fifteen reps each. This will usually take about twenty minutes.

Balance Exercises – Balance exercises are the most commonly neglected component in most senior exercise programs. But if you’re doing all that work to keep your heart in shape and your muscles strong, it just makes sense that you would want to do balance training as well. Good balance helps you control those strong muscles in a coordinated way out in the real world.

You should do balance exercises as many days per week as possible. The good thing is that they only take about ten minutes, and you can do them any time at home or your health club.

Flexibility – Flexible muscles allow you to move your joints in a full range of motion. Stretching should be done gently to the point of mild discomfort, not beyond. Try to do a stretch for each major muscle group and hold each one for at least thirty seconds.

The best time to stretch is after your cardiovascular or strength training workout when the muscles are warm. Warm tissue is more pliable. Flexibility work only needs to take about ten minutes or less.

When you start to incorporate cardiovascular training, strength training, flexibility, and balance training together, each aspect of the program will benefit the other aspects, and your body will be firing on all cylinders.

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