We have been posting recently some of the recommendations for exercise in older adults, such as on how to build on strength, power and balance.
This week lets talk about improving cardiovascular capacity as we age. Studies show that cardiovascular capacity can improve at any age, even in those with fragility and severe physical deconditioning.
Ways in which older adults can work on their aerobic exercise could include things such as walking outside or in their home, treadmill walking, steps ups, sit to stands, stairs, water walking, dancing, or a stationary bike.
When starting out, start very small with up to 5minutes of exercise, and try and progress each week, even if you add on only 2mins at a time . This is still progress.
Aim for at least x3 sessions a week, more if you can manage it. If 5mins is too hard, then break this up into even smaller chunks and do two smaller sessions over the day.
As with all exercise training, its important to work towards training with more intensity.
Here are some idea’s of how to do this if you are already working on your aerobic exercise:
Add some small weights to your hands or ankles for walking
Add in a hill walk
Chance your pace, and direction of walking, walk for short bursts faster if you can manage this safely Eg 20sec fast walking , 40secs slower. walking
Wear a backpack while you walk
On the bike, pedal for 10-20sec fast every minute
In the water walk with high knees, or increase your pace, or add in resistance equipment.
Ref: Izquierdo M et al . International Exercise Recommendations in Older Adults (ICFSR): Expert Consensus Guidelines. J Nutr Health Aging. 2021;25(7):824-853. doi: 10.1007/s12603-021-1665-8. PMID: 34409961.