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Low Impact Cardio Exercises for Seniors (With Video)

By Meredith Chen

Exercise is important at any age, but it’s especially important as we get older. Working out on a regular basis will help maintain  heart health, endurance, balance and coordination, as well as strength and conditioning. All of this contributes to a more active and healthy lifestyle.

Cardiovascular and aerobic exercise (also known as cardio), works to strengthen the entire body. This type of exercise gets us to use the large muscles in our arms, legs, core, and gets our heart rate up. At the same time, the heart, lungs, all muscles, and the bones are working hard and gaining strength which is why the entire body will benefit from this type of exercise.

We all know heart health is super important and getting in weekly cardio routines will improve heart health, while also keeping the body flexible and nimble which should improve balance and coordination. According to Meredith, having great cardiovascular health is essential to living an active lifestyle at any age.

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How Much Cardio do Seniors Need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend at least 150-minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity—think of it as 30-minutes a day, five days a week—for all adults, even the elderly and disabled.

If that seems like a lot, don’t worry! That 30-minutes can be split into any combination. For example, you might want to do 10-minutes at a time, three times a day. It’s whatever works for your schedule. It can be that easy!

Benefits of Cardio for Seniors

We’ve already mentioned how cardio exercise can strengthen the entire body, but that’s not all! There are many other benefits to cardio exercise.

These benefits include:

  • Strengthening the heart and other muscles 
  • Burning calories 
  • Help control your appetite throughout the day 
  • Help with depression 
  • Help you sleep better
  • Reduce arthritis pain and stiffness
  • Help prevent or manage high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases 

Low Impact Cardio Workout for Seniors

In this low impact cardio workout we will be going through some standing cardio moves that will get your heart rate up, your body moving and leave you feeling great! What’s great about this workout is that it’s designed so that you can easily do it in your own home without any equipment. All you need is yourself!

This is a full body workout that incorporates both upper body and lower body movements from your arms, legs, back and core. All of these elements together will help strengthen your balance and agility which are so important during everyday activities. In this workout we will do marching, side steps, moving march, and mambos.

Let’s get started with our cardio workout by warming up and moving around. Get your heart rate up and breathing. After that, we’ll warm-up the front body, side body, and back body. Intensity rises throughout the workout with more complicated and complex moves being done, such as front kicks with press front and double side steps. Grapevines and mambos are even included!

Always remember to drink lots of water (have it close by) and only do movements that you feel comfortable with. Never force any discomfort, listen to your body and stay flexible. Modifications are always available and shown if needed. Also remember to have a proper cool-down and stretch.

For more videos by Meredith, check out Senior Fitness with Meredith.

Writer, Personal Trainer

Meredith has been passionate about health and wellness her whole life. Her passion turned into a career when she got her AFAA personal training and group fitness certifications, along with countless continuing education classes to keep herself up to date on the latest in fitness. After landing a job as the Fitness Coordinator and Instructor at a retirement community, she now primarily works with seniors. She enjoys spending time with her two daughters, two dogs, cooking, walking, and spending time with friends in Arizona.

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