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7 cardio exercises to increase endurance as you age

Bupa Care Services comments for The Hippocratic Post | 7 cardio exercises to increase endurance as you age.

As you age, regular exercise may become less of an appealing concept. Aches, pains, and steadiness on your feet may hold you back but it shouldn’t stop you from exercising, full stop. In fact, making exercise a part of your routine can bring lots of benefits to both your physical and mental health.

Google Keyword Planner shows us that more are researching ways to keep moving in older age. In the last three months, we’ve seen the following increases:

  • ‘Tummy exercises for over 60s’ Google searches increased by 425%
  •  ‘Exercise for 50 plus’ Google searches increased by 300%
  • ‘Easy fitness for over 60’ Google searches have increased by 200%

The benefits of regular exercise

If you’ve fallen out of love with exercise, starting again may feel like a daunting prospect. The key is to start small and steadily build things up. Emma Parker-Johns, National Activities and Wellbeing Manager at Bupa Care Services, explains “Exercise is important whatever your age, but it becomes especially important when we get older.

“Finding ways to move that you enjoy has many health benefits. It can help to keep you stronger, happier and more independent for longer. Exercise can contribute towards greater muscle and bone strength, helping to improve balance, meaning you’re less likely to fall. It may even offer protection against some cancers, along with heart disease.

“We know from research that those who stay active in older age are healthier than those who are inactive. Evidence shows that active older people are less likely to develop serious long-term conditions.

“Making exercise part of your routine is achievable with the right support and planning – even if you’re recovering from an illness, or already have an existing health condition.

“Whatever ways you’re able to move, it’s so important to continue doing so as you age. Finding joy in movement is crucial, as this means you’re more likely to make it part of your routine. Movement can help reduce the impact of your health conditions and even make it less likely that you’ll develop other health conditions in the future.”

7 cardio exercises for endurance

Cardio – also known as cardiovascular activity or aerobic exercise – makes you breathe faster, and your muscles and heart work harder. All adults – regardless of age – should aim to do around 150 minutes of moderate intensity activities, every week. Cardio exercises should be done alongside balancing exercises to challenge your heart and muscles twice weekly, too.

Over two hours of exercise might sound like a lot, but it’s a lot more achievable when it’s broken down into shorter ten to fifteen-minute blocks.

Brad Green, MSK Physiotherapist at Bupa Health Clinics shares the best ways to make regular exercise a part of your routine. “Finding how best you like to move means you’re more likely to make them habitual. You might find your joy in the gym, but similarly you might find it comes from dancing round your living room!

“Regular exercise can help make your muscles stronger, reducing your risk of falls and accidents. As your muscles and organs improve, it can help keep you more independent, which may increase your self-esteem.” Brad explains.

If you’re looking for inspiration to help you get moving, here are seven ideas:

1. Walking: Going out for a brisk walk offers a safe option to elevate your heart rate. Teaming your walk with an audiobook, podcast or your favourite playlist may help to keep you interested and inspired.
2. Get in a spin: Road bikes, spin bikes and mountain bikes can be a fun way to meet your weekly recommended movement target.
3. Let’s dance: Impromptu living room dances or attending dance classes can help give you a good workout whilst having lots of fun.
4. Jump in the pool: Whether it’s traditional lengths or an aqua aerobics class, exercising in a swimming pool is an ideal low-impact way to increase your heart rate.
5. Team up: Playing games like tennis or badminton with a friend is a fun way to introduce some friendly competition to your workout.
6. Reap what you sow: Gardening can provide a good cardio option. After mowing, weeding and planting, you get physical proof of your hard work!
7. Get the kettle on: As you’re waiting for your kettle to boil, try marching on the spot or doing a few squats.

Tips to make cardio work for you

Brad Green, MSK Physiotherapist at Bupa Health Clinics explains: “Seated exercises can offer a good alternative for anyone who doesn’t feel ready or able to exercise on their feet. Make sure you speak to a physiotherapist about exercises that may work best for you – like resistance bands or safely pushing yourself up from your chair – so you don’t miss out on your heart and mood boost.

“Introducing exercise is all about being sensible. Don’t be tempted to jump in too hard. If you start feeling light-headed or pain in your joints, you’re pushing things too hard too soon. It’s always better to start things slowly and build yourself up gently from there.
If you’re finding it difficult to breathe, or experience chest pains, always stop exercising and speak to a health professional as soon as you can.”


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