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The importance of gentle exercise for older adults

How much physical activity do older adults aged 75 and over need to do to keep healthy?

The amount of physical activity you need to do each week depends on your age and level of health. To stay healthy or to improve health, older adults need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.

Some activity, however light, is better for your health than ‘none at all’ – you should aim to do something, no matter what your age, weight, health problems or abilities. You should aim to be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.

Active Westmont residents now have access to excellent aerobic exercise like Tai-Chi and muscle-strengthening activities like gym work-outs and swimming. Our new Recreation Centre will help you keep fit and healthy and enjoy your retirement in the years ahead.

Most adults aged 65 or older, who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility, should try to be active daily. It’s recommended that adults aged 65 or older do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song!

Daily activities such as shopping, cooking or housework don’t count towards your recommended daily 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. This is because the effort required isn’t hard enough to increase your heart rate. However, it’s important to minimise the amount of time you spend sitting watching TV, reading or listening to music. Some activity, however light, is better for your health than none at all.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions.

For each activity, try to do 8 to 12 repetitions in each set. Try to do at least one set of each muscle-strengthening activity. You’ll get even more benefits if you do two or three sets. To gain health benefits from muscle-strengthening activities, you should do them to the point where you find it hard to complete another repetition.

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