Regular aerobic exercise is really very beneficial for any age group, but seniors perhaps benefit the most from starting (or continuing, if you are already doing) an aerobic routine. Not only the aerobic exercises strengthen your heart and lungs, they provide you more energy, control your weight, improve mental health, prevent cognitive impairment, decrease symptoms of anxiety & depression, and probably keep you young.

So much so, even the seniors who have been inactive for long time can gain immensely by taking up exercise in their later years. By following an aerobic routine the older adults can improve their quality of life and enhance life expectancy.

Aerobic For Seniors

Continue reading here to find all the things and tips you need to know about aerobic exercises & work outs for seniors.

Pump Up The Heart Rate With Aerobic

For seniors above the age of 60 years, an aerobic exercise regime should be such that it’s safe but at the same time vigorous enough to increase the heart rate into an aerobic state – that is between 50 to 85 percent of maximum heart rate. As per the American Heart Association, the maximum heart rate for older adults aging between from 60 to 65 is about 160 beats a minute, and the maximum for elderly people aging between 65 to 70 is 155. In case of ages 70 and above, about 150 beats a minute is the maximum.

The table below depicts estimated target heart rates for various ages. Your maximum heart rate is approximately 220 minus your age.

In the age category closest to yours, read across the relevant row to see your target heart rate. Whereas heart rate during moderately hard activities is approximately 50-69% of your maximum heart rate, the heart rate during intensive physical activity is approximately 70% to less than 90% of the maximum heart rate.

The figures are averages, thus use them as general guidelines.

AgeTarget HR Zone 50-85%Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%
50 years85-145 bpm170 bpm
55 years83-140 bpm165 bpm
60 years80-136 bpm160 bpm
65 years78-132 bpm155 bpm
70 years75-128 bpm150 bpm


Source: American Heart Association

Alternatively, a practical way to determine intensity is to try to talk while performing aerobic exercise. If you are able to carry on a conversation, you probably are not exerting yourself enough. And if you gasp for breath, that means you are working too hard.

Gradually Increase Time

Aerobic regimes should be long enough to drive you into an aerobic zone without ending in overt fatigue. Typically, an aerobic regime consisting of a warm up of about ten minutes, along with an aerobic workout that targets heart rate state lasting for twenty to sixty minutes 3 to 5 days per week is enough to get cardiovascular & other benefits.

One should start an aerobic routine that begins with sessions lasting twelve to fifteen minutes 3 times a week on alternate days and progress gradually from there as the endurance builds up.

Note: Consult with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for aerobic workout.

Aerobic Exercise Choices For Seniors Citizens

Exercise choices for older adults depend on the health condition, fitness status & physical constraints, if any. For elderly who are having good health with no physical constraints, the options are many – anything from walking & low impact aerobic for seniors like jogging on the spot to running and cycling.

All seniors, but particularly those who are weak, may take long time to heal from an injury thus aerobic exercises that are safe yet effective are good choices. For the seniors with physical constrains or those who are new to exercise, walking involves lower risk of injury and can still increase the heart rate when done briskly enough. Moreover, it also works as a weight-bearing exercise, and so helps strengthen muscles and bones.

Swimming, water walking and water sessions are other effective choices of aerobic routines that strengthen muscles, and at the same time are easy on your joints.

Dealing With Obstructions and Staying Motivated To Continue Aerobic

Obstructions faced by the seniors in following aerobic routine include lacking confidence, disabilities, pain, poor vision and depression. Aerobic routines that are easy on the joints can decrease and even help prevent pain. Routines that allow companionship, like walking or water classes, can provide both physiological as well as emotional benefits. Exercising with a friend or in a group can provide motivation, promote friendships, and even reduce depression.

Safety For Aerobic Routine For Seniors

Before beginning any new fitness routine, especially for the seniors with physical limitations, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor first to ensure that your body can handle the change and also find out about the ideal aerobic exercise routines for elderly.

Renu Bakshi AKA Fitness BuffhqAbout Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Health Coach. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “I am now healthier and fitter at 68 than I was at 28. For me age is just a number!”

Pin It on Pinterest