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How Much Exercise Do Seniors Need?

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Smiling senior lady exercising with dumbbells to live a healthy, active lifestyle

Physical exercise and wellness are important aspects of staying healthy for everyone – including seniors. If you are 65+, it’s essential to make exercise a part of your weekly routine. Ensuring you’re staying active can have a drastic effect on your mental health and psychological well-being, while helping to prevent future health problems

But how do you know how much exercise you need? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how often you should exercise, what types of exercise you should do and how to stay safe while exercising. 

How Often Should Seniors Exercise? 

The centres for disease control & prevention (CDC) recommends that seniors who are generally fit and have no limiting health conditions partake in: 

Types of Physical Activity for Seniors 

There are four types of exercise that are important to work into your routine: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Including various activities in your workouts can help reduce boredom and lower your risk of injury. 


Endurance or stamina activities increase your breathing and heart rate. These types of activities can increase your energy levels, help you sleep better, and improve your overall health. Examples of endurance exercise include:

  • Brisk walking, jogging or running
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Climbing stairs


Strength training includes doing exercises that strengthen your muscles. Strength training has many benefits. Strength training can:

Examples of strength training exercises include:

Group of seniors working on their one-legged balance


Balance training focuses on strengthening the muscles that help keep you upright. These kinds of exercises can improve your stability and help prevent falls. Examples of balance exercises include:

  • Standing on one leg 
  • Standing up and sitting down in a chair without using your hands
  • Walking while doing knee lifts 
  • Doing certain types of yoga or tai chi 


Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles which helps keep you limber and maintain your ability for movement. Examples of flexibility exercises include:

  • Stretching
  • Doing certain types of yoga

Safety tips 

Physical activity can help seniors stay in physical and mental shape, but in order to reap the benefits, it is crucial to make safety a top priority. There are many things you can do to prevent harming yourself while working out, including:

  • Staying hydrated before, during and after you exercise
  • Starting slow and avoiding pushing yourself too hard 
  • Exercising with a friend or family member
  • Wearing proper workout clothing and well-fitting shoes
  • Paying attention to your body and avoid or stop exercising if you feel unwell

Risks & Considerations   

How Much Exercise is Too Much?

Exercising too much can negatively affect your health. The amount of physical activity you need depends on your current physical condition, individual health risks, and body composition. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be over-exercising:

  • You injure easily
  • You feel exhausted instead of energized
  • You’re sore for days at a time

Talk With Your Doctor 

Before beginning any new exercise program, you should check in with your doctor. Your doctor can help you exercise beneficially. If you are concerned about starting a new exercise program, you can ask your doctor the following questions:

  • Is it safe for me to exercise?
  • How do I get started?
  • Are there any exercises or activities I should avoid?
  • Is my preventive care up to date?
  • How does my health condition affect my ability to exercise?
  • Which exercises will help me the most?
  • I watch my diet and am not overweight. Do I need to exercise? 

The Takeaway

Exercising is an integral part of maintaining your overall health. Incorporating a range of endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises has many benefits and can lead to a more healthy and fulfilled life. 

If you are concerned about your health or are curious about implementing a weekly exercise program, talk to your doctor or contact us today!


Sue Hall

Written by Sue Hall

Sue has been in healthcare for over 30 years as a nurse, consultant, and administrator. Through the years, she has always felt her calling was with seniors, and she feels at home at The Villages of Murfreesboro. Sue serves on the board of the Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes.

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