A popular research question in exercise is, “What is the best workout schedule?” Many studies have tried to answer this question but there is not a definitive answer.
The current daily exercise recommendations set by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. An easy schedule to remember is 30 minutes per day and 5 days per week. Although, the frequency or breakdown of the 150 minutes into a schedule is not as important as the total amount of aerobic exercise done during the week. Aerobic fitness is an important factor in maintaining functionality and independence through older adulthood.
The HHS recommendations are for general health, to build bone, you must perform weight-bearing and muscle-strenghtening activities. Some moderate intensity weight-bearing exercises include: walking/hiking briskly, dancing, weight-lifting, resistance band exercises, running/jogging, and recreational sports. Start where you are comfortable and work your way up to more vigorous exercise by adding speed, weight, or time to your workouts.
Days off from exercise are important. There are no recommendations that suggest working out 7 days per week. Rest allows the muscles and bones to repair and adapt. It is a critical component of any exercise program and a bone building program is no exception. Be sure to work in one day per week that you rest your bones from high-impact activities.
Every day it is important to work on balance and posture activities. that are easy to include in many of your daily routines. Standing on one leg whenever you find yourself in one place, like brushing your teeth or waiting in line at the grocery store. Extension exercises (pulling your shoulders back and down) help stretch the chest muscles and strengthen the muscles of the back. This is especially important if you work at a desk for periods of time.
Tai chi has been proven to improve balance and coordination with purposeful movements that flow from one position to the next. It is fun and relaxing. You may have seen tai chi performed in public parks either in groups or individually. Tai chi is offered at many senior centers and YMCAs around the country.