Elderly And Senior Endurance Exercises Improve Your Heart Health

If you are looking for one of the best resources on elderly endurance training exercises for seniors on the internet, you found it!

elderly endurance
The benefits of Elderly endurance training in a senior exercise program are

  • Increased endurance, energy level, increased fat metabolism, and prevention of heart disease
  • This works best if you workout at least three times a week spaced out with a 48 hour rest in between
  • It is possible to improve with a two day a week workout but we prefer at least three days

Two days a week is not likely to help you loose weight  but  really any amount of exercise is better than no exercise at all.




Start a walking program

One of the easiest forms of Elderly endurance work is brisk walking. Walking has been referred to as the "King of exercises".

If you are a low fit person, start with 2 - 5 minutes of  continuous walking.

Try this a few times per day. Then build up to 30 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week.

Older adults can safely walk as much as 60 minutes a day.

Beginners or those with balance problems, joint problems should walk first on flat surfaces or indoor at a mall.

Then you can gradually work up to more uneven surface as your balance and joints permit.

Tips for healthy feet

  • Keep nails filed straight across the top
  • Wash your feet daily with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly.
  • Those with diabetes should check their feet daily for redness, ingrown toe nails and blisters.
  • Gradually build up your pace.
  • A healthy senior can safely walk between 1 to 3 miles per hour.

Picture122Hiking or walking shoes are the best choice for your elderly endurance  program.

Regular sneakers or tennis shoes are not ideal because they are designed for more side to side movements in sports.

Look for a shoe with thick soles to provide cushioning and good heel support for increased stability.

Thick socks will increase your comfort and reduce the risk of blistering.

Finding your correct training range for elderly endurance exercises

Picture123Endurance exercises include brisk walking, stationary bike riding, running, low impact aerobics, swimming, water aerobics, cycling or any exercise that makes you breathe faster and your heart to speed up.

Endurance exercises or activities should be performed at least 2 times per week.

For optimal improvement in your heart and lungs and muscles, try 3 to 5 times per week.

Think of how much easier it will be to walk, grocery shop and play with your grandchildren!

Your workout should be intense enough to make your heart beat faster and your breathing to increase but not so high as to over stress your system.

This is your training zone. Try to work out in this range to get the most benefit out of your endurance exercises.

Below you will find three good ways of monitoring your intensity level for your endurance activities and finding your training zone. Pick one that will work for you and your situation.



Method 1: Maximum Heart rate :

This method is the most precise when finding your training zone for your endurance exercises, but can be the hardest to learn.

Take a breath... and see if you can follow along...

A good range for the typical senior exerciser is between 65% to 80% of your maximum heart rate, which is 220 minus your age.

If you have been inactive for a while or have limiting health problems, keep your heart rate between 50% and 75% of your maximum.

For example....

A healthy 75 year old man with a maximum heart rate of 145

needs to exercise between 16 and 21 beats

when counting for 10 seconds.

Find your age on the chart below, and follow to get your heart rate range for a 10 second count.

heartratechart

Take your pulse at approximately 5 minutes into the exercise.

Take your pulse again at approximately 10 minutes into your endurance exercise or after the hardest part.

Take your pulse just after your cool-down.

Picture120To find your pulse on your wrist: Use the pads of your two fingers tips.

Place your finger tips just below the wrist creases at the base of the thumb.

Press lightly until you feel a pulse

(which is the blood pulsing under your fingers).

If necessary, move fingers around until you feel the pulse.

Picture16Review the 10 second counts so that you don't have to do math in your head while exercising.

Slow down for the pulse count but keep your legs moving.

It is usually better to take your pulse at your wrist (radial artery) instead of your neck ( carotid artery).

It is possible to press too hard on the carotid artery which could cause slowing of the pulse.

Wow..eeeehhhh!...

I know this sounds complicated.....

But once you find how many beats per 10 seconds you need to have.... you are done!

Method 2: Rate of Perceived Exertion:

Don't like the previous heart rate method?

Too complicated?

Want an easier way to tell how hard you are working during your workout?

An easier method is to just rate your feeling of how hard you are working on the 0 to 10 scale.

This is called the "Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion."
borg

For most older adult exercisers, you can work in the "moderate" to "strong" range which is 4 - 5.

Give it a try.. it actually works quite well.

Method 3: Talk Test:

Still too complicated?

Want a VERY easy method to tell how hard you are working and make sure you are training correctly and safely in your training zone?

Try the talk test. It doesn't get much simpler...

Picture27Basically, you should be able to speak in your normal voice and tone during your exercise session.

If you are out of breath and are unable to speak regularly, then you need to lower your intensity level by slowing down.

How's that? Easy, eehh?

21 Comments

  1. So glad to find this article. The instructions and different methods of finding max heart rate and/or level of exertion is, I think, the clearest I have seen so far. The info in this post is a keeper and I will definitely return to your blog. I’m well over 60, and keep starting and stopping exercise programs – mostly walking because that’s easiest. I’m happy the weather is turning nice now, so I can get outside and get moving.

  2. Just curious. I have been diagnosed with a low heart rate. It dropped to 39 BPM on a 24 hour Holter monitor. I am 70. Is anyone else dealing with that? If so, how does it affect your fitness/training?

    I have been very fit most of my life and my heart rate was always under 60 BPM, usually settling out that 53 – 54 BPM while fully rested. I never really noticed how far it dropped during sleep, however. After HR monitors became readily available I got one and noticed my heart rate was 45 BPM once upon waking.

    I’ve had no symptoms to speak of.

    Over 20 years ago, I was very fit and able to sustain a pace of 7.5 minutes per mile for 8 miles. Around that time I developed severe panic attacks and my running pace suffered dramatically. I have not run since.

    I am just starting back by walking a lot. I have always been able to walk long distances of over 10 miles but when I have tried to run, following the onset of panic attacks, I got really weird symptoms. I could no longer sustain a pace of even 10 minutes a mile. This happened essentially overnight.

    Since being diagnosed with the slow heart rate I am wondering if that may have been affecting me 20 years ago when the problems started with panic attacks.

  3. ” I do some intervals, usually 4, 250 meter hard sprints, followed by walking about 90 seconds”.

    Just my opinion but I trained to very high levels when I was much younger. I’m now 70. The purpose of interval training is to push yourself into oxygen debt then back off till you recover. As far as I am concerned, 75% of your maximum heart rate is adequate for interval training.

    At 70, my 75% is about 113 BPM. Even 120 BPM is 80% and 130 BPM is 87%. At 68, you don’t want to be training with a heart rate in excess of 130 BPM. I limit myself to 125 BPM, but even that is way too high for someone starting out who has been sedentary.

    If your breathing is laboured, you are training too hard. You should always be able to speak while you run without gasping between words. While doing intervals, I used to test by saying in one breath, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”. I would say it fairly slowly and deliberately while making sure I could get each words out clearly without gasping for air between words. Sometimes I had to take a quick breath following the sentence.

    When I did that I was able to sustain 7.5 minute miles for half a marathon. That was 92 minutes over 13+ miles. I still go by that at 70. There is no need to be gasping for air, especially at 70.

    When I was in my early 20s, I ran 8 miles at 6 minutes per mile while training for soccer. I was never breathing hard at any time throughout the 8 miles. I ran with another player for several miles and we had a conversation without either of us gasping for air. Our breathing was so regular you’d never know we were running at a 6 minute/mile pace. When you are fit, you’re breathing is never an issue.

    At least, you must run at a pace where your breathing is never an issue. Your breathing reflects your fitness level. If you’re breathing is strained you are running way too fast for your fitness level.

    You might try reducing the length of your intervals and doing more at a slower pace. The improvement in fitness and speed comes from the number of intervals you do up to a limit. On distance runs (5 miles or more) I would often fit a dozen 200 yard intervals into the middle of the run. I never ran them at more than 75% effort (subjective…no HR monitor) but they were sufficient to make me slow down below my jogging pace to recover.

    The word interval actually refers to the process of raising your heart rate and sustaining it till you are in oxygen debt then reducing your HR till you recover, then repeating. Oxygen debt means you are slightly out of breath to the point where you’d eventually collapse if you sustained that rate. It does not mean you are gasping for air, red in the face, or struggling. Neither does it mean you have to run at or near your maximum heart rate.

    Of course, I could not do that now. I am just starting back and all I do is walk 2 to 3 miles at a heart rate of 100 BPM to 120 BPM with a few slow jogs of a 100 yards or so at a HR of 125 BPM max. Sometimes I walk 10 or 12 miles at no particular HR. I leave my monitor at home and pace myself to finish. I’ll sit down to rest for 10 minutes several times if I feel like it.

    While I am jogging my heart rate never exceeds 80% of max, However, I can walk at that HR as well. I don’t know why but right now I can sustain a walk at a faster pace than I can a jog.

    I have had a 12 lead stress test and a Holter monitor recently and got the green light from my cardiologist.

    That’s what you want, pushing till you owe your body ‘some’ oxygen…never totally out of breath…then dropping the pace to recover. If you can only manage 2 or 3, that’s fine. Build it up very gradually till you feel really good doing 10. If that never happens, it never happens. Running is supposed to be fun, not worth killing yourself over.

    I would never, ever do intervals during a long distance run if I felt exhausted by doing them. My criterion was fun. I did intervals because they were fun to do. The moment they became a struggle, I stopped and resumed my jog, after a walk or very slow jog to recover.

  4. Doug. I have been running competitively for decades and I’m now 68 yo. This past October, 2016 i did a 5k road race in 27:22 to give an idea of current fitness. I find it increasingly hard to maintain, let alone improve endurance and speed. I have a 5 mile and 10 k race in the the spring 2017. I do some intervals, usually 4, 250 meter hard sprints, followed by walking about 90 seconds. I also do some slow, longer runs (4 miles) and some stationary bike intervals. My heart rate goes to 140 on the bike at the top interval. I do those 3 days of the week and walk and stretch, some lunges and squats the other 5. But I’m tired and want a nap after even a slower 3 mile run. Help !!!!

    1. Wow. Sounds like you are in great shape. Certainly for your tiredness I would get a physical check-up by your doctor first, blood test etc., to make sure your blood chemistry is ok. Also, make sure your rest periods are adequate. At 140 bpm you are in the upper end of your range. Your cardiac output at rest is not affected by your age but at 68 years old your aerobic capacity can be reduced to as much as 30% to 40% of the aerobic capacity of a younger adult. It is a linear decline, which is to say as your age increases there is also a reduction in your aerobic capacity. And unfortunately it even accellerates after 80 years old. I like to say that at every birthday we are presented with a new body and sometimes will need to adjust our activities to this new body. If you have no medical issues, then just fall back on basic fitness training. Adjust your intensity, frequency and duration along with allowing proper rest periods during your exercise bout and between exercise bouts. Good luck.

  5. I got a puppy. Now almost 2. Forced exercise and it fun. She loves walks, swimming. And you cannot deny them.Gets me up early and makes sure there a daily walk. I am 72. And I went for a high energy breed.

  6. I normally walk at a 3.5 mile/hr rate, 4 miles, 6 days/week, but it doesn’t increase my respiration rate much. Plus, I do weights twice/week. I’m 77 and would like to get in shape for a ski trip. I tried going to a fitness center and doing the inclined treadmill at 15% incline which got my heart rate up to 167 after about 20 minutes at 2.5 mph, but I’ve read this is too high for my age although it didn’t tire me. My resting rate is about 72. So, what is the best way to increase my endurance?

    1. Chuck. You are an inspiration! Great job. Strengthening 2x per week is a good frequency. Your theoretical maximum heart rate at birth is 220 bpm and declines by about .7 beats per year. Your theoretical maximum heart rate would then be 166 bpm. That is only a guideline for your age. Certainly we are all different. If you keep your heart rate in the 130’s that would be 80% which would be fine for endurance training. If you are going skiing, I would be thinking of my knees more than my endurance. Really try to strengthen your knees at least 6 weeks before your trip. Knee injuries are very common in skiing. Good luck!

  7. Hey Doug

    Good work man. These are really good tips. And I agree with your comment that everyone needs to start at their own place and then build up the stamina. Starting off with the recommended timings will only lead to loss of strength and tiredness. Whereas starting off slowly and then gradually increasing the stamina will lead to better fitness and endurance.

  8. After I initially commented I appear to have clicked the
    -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now
    each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same
    comment. Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service?

    Many thanks!

  9. Doug, have watched your videos and feel they are spectacular.
    I would like to know if I can buy them in spanish. I feel although there may be others probably of latin origin, I prefer your’s,

  10. Par ailleurs, les Eaux du Ciel qui s’unissent à nos eaux intérieures jouent également un rôle primordial face
    à cette transcendance multidimensionnelle.

    1. Remember to start slowly. If you are a low fit person, start with 2 – 5 minutes of continuous walking. Try this a few times per day. Then build up to 30 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week.

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