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How Much Exercise Is Too Much? Guidelines for Seniors

It’s important for seniors to move their bodies regularly and stay active, but there are certain guidelines that should be followed in order to ensure safety and avoid injury. Here’s what the experts recommend.

How much exercise does your body need?

Physical activity should always be a priority. While many people say they don’t have the time to exercise, you don’t need to spend a lot of time to get the benefits of regular physical activity. According to the CDC guidelines for seniors, adults over the age of 65 need at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. If you are doing a more intense activity, such as jogging, you will only need 60 minutes per week. A good exercise routine will also include activities to improve balance and strengthen muscles.

Another common reason why seniors tend to avoid regular exercise is their physical condition. Fortunately, you don’t have to lift tons of heavy weights or spend hours on a treadmill to stay active. There are plenty of options for light exercises available. If you are concerned about a specific activity aggravating your condition, try talking to your doctor about alternatives.

It’s also important to remember that these guidelines are only a starting point in determining how much exercise a person needs. You don’t want to push your body to its limits, but in most cases, there is little harm in exercising more.

If you aren’t sure if your body can handle 150 minutes per week or about 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week, talk to your doctor about alternative exercises. Another option is to work with a personal trainer who can provide you with more customized suggestions.

What happens if you exercise too much?

While most of the time exercise is a great thing, there are several health issues that could arise if you exercise too much. If you have been inactive for a long time before starting a new exercise routine, you will want to take it easy and gradually add more physical activities to your routine. Once you have the desired amount of activity in your routine, don’t push yourself or feel obligated to add more.

Overdoing things one day can lead to muscle soreness or fatigue the next day. Usually, these issues go away quickly, and the body heals itself. If you are experiencing these symptoms for days after you exercise, it could be a sign you are doing more than your body can handle.

According to Banner Health, you may be getting too much exercise if you experience a poor recovery after a workout. You may also see an increase in anxiety or depression, mood swings, fatigue, sore muscles, or trouble sleeping.

Too much exercise can also lead to some more concerning health issues. In some extreme cases, too much exercise can be linked to an increased risk of coronary artery calcification. While that may be alarming to some seniors, the increased risk mostly affects people who participate in over 7.5 hours of intense physical activity per week.

If you think you may be over-exercising, consider how much physical activity you do in a day and try to find the right balance. Keeping a log can help you notice patterns. If you have reduced the amount of physical activity you do each day and are still having issues, such as muscle soreness, talk to a doctor right away.

The bottom line

Activity intensity plays an important role in determining how much physical activity a senior should engage in at any given time. Generally, experts recommend engaging in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes five days per week or more vigorous activities for 20 minutes three times a week.

In addition, it’s also advised to incorporate muscle-strengthening activities into two or more days of the week as well. However, if a senior feels pain or experiences discomfort during any type of physical activity, they should take breaks and reduce the intensity or stop completely.

Assessing your physical health beforehand can help you avoid aggravating your condition or causing further harm. Don’t worry, if one exercise is off-limits, there are tons of other options!

Fitness classes, water aerobics, yoga and more — living at Monroe Village in Monroe Township, NJ means you’ll never be at a loss for activities to fill your time and keep you in shape.

Need information? Check our resources.

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