Guidelines for healthy adults under age 65

  • Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week or do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week 
  • Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.
  • Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.
  • It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.
  • The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease. 

 Guidelines for adults over age 65
(or adults 50-64 with chronic conditions, such as arthritis)

  • Do moderately intense aerobic exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week or do vigorously intense aerobic exercise 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week 
  • Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, 10-15 repetitions of each exercise twice to three times per week
  • If you are at risk of falling, perform balance exercises
  • Have a physical activity plan.
  • Both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity is critical for healthy aging.
  • Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise means working hard at about a level-six intensity on a scale of 10. You should still be able to carry on a conversation during exercise.
  • Older adults or adults with chronic conditions should develop an activity plan with a health professional to manage risks and take therapeutic needs into account. This will maximize the benefits of physical activity and ensure your safety.
    Source: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Heart Association (AHA) 

Benefits of Strength Training

  • Increased strength of bones, muscles and connective tissue, which helps to decrease your risk of injury.
  • Increased muscle mass. Muscle tissue is partly responsible for the amount of calories you burn at rest (basal metabolic rate or BMR). As muscle mass increases, BMR increases, making it easier to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Enhanced quality of life. As strength increases, the ability to perform daily activities is easier.
    Source: American Council on Exercise (ACE) 

What is BMI?

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) is a screening tool used to measure weight relative to height. To calculate your BMI, you will need to divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply that by 703. The formula is: weight / [height (in inches)]2 x 703
  • Your BMI will place you in one of the following categories:
    • Those with a BMI below 18.5 are considered underweight.
    • Those with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered normal weight.
    • Those with a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 are considered overweight.
    • Those with a BMI of 30.0 and above are considered obese.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How do I measure resting and exercise heart rates?

  • Resting Heart Rate (RHR): Your resting heart rate is most accurately measured for a full minute first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Place your finger tips on the side of your neck (carotid pulse) or at your wrist on the thumb side (radial pulse).
  • Maximum Heart Rate (MHR): Your age estimated maximum heart rate is “220 minus your age.” For example, if someone is 55 years old their age estimated MHR would be 165 beats per minute.
  • The upper and lower end of your target heart rate zone while exercising should be based on your current level of fitness. For example: Low level of fitness: 45 – 55% of MHR, Fair level of fitness: 55 – 65% of MHR, Good level of fitness: 65-75% of MHR, Excellent level of fitness: 75 – 85% of MHR.
  • To measure your heart rate while exercising, count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by six.
    Source: American Council on Exercise (ACE)

Why should I include a warm-up and cool-down in my exercise routine?

  • An adequate warm-up prior to physical activity is important to ensure a safe and effective exercise session.
  • A simple warm-up will increase blood flow throughout the body, especially to the muscles, and will begin to raise the internal body temperature.
  • Warm muscles and tendons are less prone to injury and may improve physical performance.
  • The warm-up should last five to ten minutes and should begin with a low intensity exercise which slightly increases your heart rate.
  • The cool-down period following a workout is just as important as the warm-up.
  • The cool-down is meant to reduce your heart rate, breathing rate, and to help with recovery following exercise.
  • The cool-down has been show to decrease light-headedness and prevent pooling of the blood within the muscles, which can lead to fainting and soreness.
  • A cool-down also allows waste products to be removed from your muscles, possibly minimizing soreness after activity.
  • The cool-down should last five to ten minutes and be followed by light stretching to help relax the muscles.
    Source: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

What are the benefits of varying your workout routine?

  • Individuals should consider varying their exercise routines for two fundamental reasons:   
    • to prevent boredom associated with doing the same things workout after workout
    • to avoid or delay reaching a plateau in workout performance and, subsequently, training results.
  • There are several ways you can spice up your current workout routine, including boosting the intensity of your workouts.
    • For instance, if you jog or run, try incorporating some intervals of sprinting or add more hill work to your run.
    • You can also cross train and perform different activities to provide your body with a new challenge.
    • A nice alternative for resistance-training exercises involves changing the sequence in which you perform the training exercises. By fatiguing the muscles in a new order or pattern, you are requiring them to adapt to a new training stimulus.
    • Another option for adding variety to strength-training workouts is to replace some or all of the exercises in your workout routine (e.g., substitute a dumbbell pectoral fly exercise on a stability ball for your typical barbell bench press exercise).
  • By varying their exercise routines, individuals can not only stay physically challenged, but mentally stimulated as well.
    Source: American Council on Exercise (ACE)