By: Dr. Beth
High intensity exercise is not only safe for aging adults, but has more benefits than exercising at a moderate level of intensity. What’s the difference?
With moderate-intensity exercise, you no longer have enough breath power to sing a song, but you would be able to carry on a conversation with someone next to you. With high-intensity exercise, also known as vigorous, you are exercising hard enough that you can only say 2-3 words at a time, because the rest of your breath power is being used to fuel your exercise.
With that being said, there are some special considerations we like to make sure people take into account before jumping into a high-intensity exercise routine.
First, I highly recommend a good warm-up and cool-down when you are venturing into high-intensity exercise, especially as you age. Your body is capable of participating in high-intensity workouts, but it needs more time to ease into and out of that zone. A typical warm-up should last 5-10 minutes, get your heart rate up, and make you sweat.
This allows your heart rate and breathing rate to increase slowly, instead of going from 0 to 100, which is more difficult for your body to handle as you age.
The goal of the cool-down is to keep your body moving at a lower intensity level, allowing more time for your breathing and heart rate to return to your normal resting levels, and should also last 5-10 minutes. Again, if you go from 100 to 0, it’s much more challenging for your body to handle that quick change.
The second thing to consider is your sweat response, as this decreases with age. A decreased sweat response means your body is slower to realize that it is getting overheated and slower to trigger the cooling response of sweating. Options for helping to balance this out are:
The third change to recognize is your thirst response, which also diminishes with age. By the time seniors feel thirsty, they are usually already in mild dehydration. As a matter of fact, most seniors are chronically dehydrated. The recommended fluid intake per day is half of your body weight in ounces.
This means a 200# person needs 100 ounces of fluid daily, and a 150# person needs 75 ounces of fluid. The only exceptions are for those who are on a fluid restriction. Tips to stay on top of hydration are:
-? Dr. Beth
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Dr. Beth helps adults 55+ maximize their independence and fitness, so they can continue to enjoy a full and active life.