Physical Activity for Older People

Older adults aged 65 or more, who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility, should try to be active daily and should do:
  
At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

OR

75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week, and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

OR

An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week (for example two 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of fast walking), and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

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What counts as moderate-intensity aerobic activity?

Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most people include:

  • walking fast
  • doing water aerobics
  • ballroom and line dancing
  • riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
  • playing doubles tennis
  • pushing a lawn mower
  • canoeing
  • volleyball

Every little helps

Inactive people get more immediate health benefits from being active again than people who are already fit. Some activity is better than none at all.
Moderate-intensity activity will raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you're exercising at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.

Daily activities such as shopping, cooking or housework count towards your 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.

It is also important to minimise the amount of time you spend sitting watching TV, reading or listening to music. Some activity, however light, is better for your health than none at all.

What counts as vigorous-intensity aerobic activity?

Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most people include:

  • jogging or running
  • aerobics
  • swimming fast
  • riding a bike fast or on hills
  • playing singles tennis
  • playing football
  • hiking uphill
  • energetic dancing
  • martial arts

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity means you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

In general, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.

What counts as muscle-strengthening activity?

Muscle-strengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions.

For each activity, try to do 8 to 12 repetitions in each set. Try to do at least 1 set of each muscle-strengthening activity. You'll get even more benefits if you do 2 or 3 sets.

To gain health benefits from muscle-strengthening activities, you should do them to the point where you find it hard to complete another repetition.

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether at home or in the gym.
Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • carrying or moving heavy loads such as groceries
  • activities that involve stepping and jumping such as dancing
  • heavy gardening, such as digging or shovelling
  • exercises that use your body weight for resistance, such as push-ups or sit-ups
  • yoga
  • lifting weights

You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same day or on different days as your aerobic activity, whatever's best for you.

However, muscle-strengthening activities don't count towards your aerobic activity total, so you'll need to do them in addition to your aerobic activity.

Some vigorous-intensity aerobic activities may provide 75 minutes of aerobic activity and sufficient muscle-strengthening activity. Examples include circuit training and sports such as aerobic dancing or running.

Let's Get Moving

                                                                

Let's Get Moving Pack                                                           Activity Diary

 


 

Active AGEing

The South Eastern Trust Health Development Department has teamed up with Ards and North Down Borough Council and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Sports and Leisure Services Departments to design and develop an Active Ageing Programme specifically for older adults. The programme aims to give as many older people as possible the opportunity to experience enjoyable, appropriate and sustainable physical activities in a safe, friendly, supportive and fun environment, therefore helping to improve their health, wellbeing and independence.

To view the Active Ageing activities in your area, click the link below:

 

Preventing falls

Older adults at risk of falls, such as people with weak legs, poor balance and some medical conditions, should do exercises to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week. These could include yoga, tai chi and dancing.