In this article you will find which is better; Cardio or Strength Training for seniors? Should the seniors do cardio or strength training or both?
Which Is Better For Older Adults – Cardio or Strength Training
Short answer: It depends on your goals.
To elaborate further, your fitness & health goals are two most important determining factors. But for the optimum, over-all wellbeing, you should do both aerobic exercise (Cardio) and resistance training (Strength).
Cardio means any physical activity that increases your breathing & heart rate. For example jogging or cycling are cardio activities. These types of activities benefit & improve your heart, lungs and functioning of the rest of your cardiovascular system.
That’s not all! Cardio further helps in regulating blood sugar, improving brain health, maintaining a healthy weight & mobility.
Due to all the above wide-ranged benefits, doing regular cardio exercises can help you live longer, active life (Source: A June 2017 study published in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease
Resistance Exercise (Strength Training)
Strength training is also important for the seniors, especially as you age. As we get older, we lose muscle & bone mass. This leads to frailty & many other health issues. By doing strength training you can build muscle tissues & retain/improve bone mass. Not only it makes your body strong, but it will also help maintain your weight within a healthy range and also contribute in improving overall cardiovascular health. According to the Mayo Clinic, it helps you maintain strong bones even in old age and improve the quality of your life, keeping you fit and independent longer.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, American adults should aim for two & half to five hours per week of moderate-intensity cardio exercise and two days a week of strength training involving all major muscle groups.
However, if you are a beginner, it’s better to start slowly with smaller/lighter bouts (say 5-20 minutes at a time) and gradually work towards longer/intensive sessions. For example go for short walks, do some body weight exercises such as chair squats and wall pushups. And then as you gain strength & endurance, increase intensity & timings.
The key is to do consistently that suits your own body best. Challenge yourself & increase intensity & timings progressively.
To start with keep a goal of just feeling more energetic and able to do the functional physical routine activities with greater ease. It will work as a great motivator. As you feel better, you will like to do more. And as you go along, push yourself into mild discomfort. That’s the secret!