Today we’re going to look at endurance. As you know endurance is part of the four pillars of senior fitness. And that includes strength, flexibility, balance and endurance.
Endurance is one of the areas that’s frequently overlooked by seniors. This is because as a senior we mostly need strength and balance if we want to be independent. We generally don’t think of our heart and lungs unless we have a chronic condition like COPD or asthma.
Endurance training is important because this is how we strengthen our heart and lungs. Endurance training improves the ability of our heart to pump oxygenated blood from the lungs to all parts of our body. It also improves the ability of our muscles to use that oxygen when it arrives. Oxygen is our body’s engine. When we improve our endurance, we’ll feel more energized and strong.
To get the benefits of endurance training we need to exercise in our training zone. Your training zone is between 50 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.
So if you are 70, take your pulse for 10 seconds and it should be between 12 and 20 beats. It’s that easy. If you like hi tech, try a real time heart rate monitor watch. These are available everywhere in the 20 to 100 dollar range. This way you can see exactly how you are doing. Just keep in mind; the cheaper ones are not as accurate.
So you say, ok Doug, I am 70 years old and I can’t run, and don’t have an exercise bike at home, what should I do? Well, we now know that if we perform a short, high intensity exercise, we can get the same benefits as a long exercise session of running, swimming, or biking. Here is a simple and easy senior high intensity workout that only takes four and a half minutes.
Make sure you warm up before the exercise session. Start with 30 seconds of marching, trying to get your heart rate as high as tolerated. Then walk for 1 minute while taking your pulse. Repeat this three times. As you improve, extend your time slowly to 2 minutes of marching.
Try incorporating an endurance workout like this 2 or 3 times per week for best results.
If you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle, definitely get medical clearance from you physician. You should have a foundational level of fitness before you start a high intensity program. This means wait until you’ve done at least 4 weeks of moderate exercise. If you found this video helpful, give me a like at the bottom and please subscribe to keep this channel going.
Do you have another way to incorporate endurance into your senior exercise program? Let me know in the comments section below. Take care.
Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.
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