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Importance of Cardiovascular Fitness

Regular exercise provides a wealth of health benefits. One of the most important impacts on senior health is cardiovascular strength and endurance. Cardio or aerobic exercise will raise your heart rate, pumping more oxygen to your muscles and body, which will improve the entire pulmonary system by increasing the amount of oxygen the lungs can handle and helping tone the heart in the process.

For overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. With a session of 50 minutes three times a week, or any exercise combination that includes 150 minutes or more per week will give you cardio benefit. Exercise duration must be a minimum of 10 minutes for any cardio pulmonary benefit. Start with low to moderate intensity and gradually build up your strength to a point that you can alternate with short periods of intense effort.

Benefits of aerobic exercises for seniors:

  • Boost Cardiovascular Health – Aerobic workouts are highly recommended physical activities for seniors. Low intensity workouts like walking can enhance the health of the heart at a significant level.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure – Cardio exercise is known for raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood. The effect of cholesterol improvement is a lowering of an individual’s blood pressure.
  • Aids in Weight Loss – Many studies have shown that exercise alone, without making any dietary changes will result in weight loss.
  • Better Respiratory Function – Stronger lungs and airways allow the body to function better and more efficiently counter symptoms of an illness or infection. Low intensity aerobic exercise can help individuals with asthma or difficulty breathing.
  • Stronger Bones – Weight bearing aerobic exercise like walking not only strengthens the heart and muscles, but also your bones. Concentrate on low impact activities in order to avoid injury. Strong bones also contribute to better balance.
  • Improves Sleep – Moderate intensity activity of 30 minutes or more daily can have a significant effect on an individual’s sleep quality. Insomnia and sleep disorder can take a toll on older adults and moderate exercise will help alleviate these issues.
  • Better Gastrointestinal Function – Consistent exercise helps boost the metabolism, promotes the efficient elimination of waste and improves overall digestive health.
  • Improved Brain Function – Regular exercise has shown to improve brain activity and will help reduce age related decline in brain function.
  • Reduce Blood Sugar – Exercise will help reduce blood glucose levels and improve insulin resistance.

Other lasting benefits of exercise include the reduction of chronic pain, strengthening immunity, and enhancing the overall quality of living. A consistent exercise program is also associated with decreased mortality and age related disorders in older adults.