How much exercise is enough?

Getting enough exercise, no matter how old you are, will hold you in good stead throughout your life. The longer that you can keep your body fit and strong, the longer you can expect to be active during your older years. Some exercise is always better than no exercise.

There are two kinds of exercise that you should aim to do regularly:

  • Cardio (aerobic): keeps your heart healthy and your weight down.
  • Strength training: helps you to build and maintain strong muscles and bones.

But how much exercise is enough for you?

Well, it depends on your age, level of fitness and overall general health. For Australian adults aged 65 or older, who are mostly fit and have no mobility-limiting health conditions, these daily exercise suggestions are a good guide:

It is recommended that Australian adults 65 years and above should do:

  • At least two-and-a half hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week and whole-body muscle strengthening activities of all muscle groups; legs, hips, beck, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms, on two or more days per week.
    Moderate-intensity: Exercises that will make you break a light sweat, such as cycling, yoga or fast walking.

  • One hour and fifteen minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise every week and whole-body muscle strengthening activities of all muscle groups; legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms, on two or more days per week.
    Vigorous-intensity: Exercises that will cause your heart-rate and breathing increase and make you sweat a lot, such as running, high intensity interval training, or a hard game of tennis.

In muscle strengthening activity remember it’s about quality over quantity, so aim for 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise, and only lift as much weight as your body can, while still maintaining proper lifting technique.

Muscle strengthening doesn’t always mean using weights, either. You can also use your own body weight to strengthen your muscles, such as push-ups and squats.

To find out more about physical activity for older adults visit Health Direct.

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