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Exercise for Seniors

Cardio, Flexibility & Balance


Updated February 25, 2011

Cardio Exercise for Seniors

Because endurance can decline over the years, it's important to engage in some type of aerobic exercise. The National Institute on Aging recommends seniors shoot for 30 minutes of cardio exercise each day. To get started:

  • See your doctor first if you have any medical issues
  • Choose an activity you enjoy and something that's accessible such as walking, swimming, biking, tennis, etc.
  • If you've never exercised or it's been a while, start with 5-10 minutes of cardio 3 times a week and allow your body time to get used to it. Each week, add a few minutes until you can move continuously for 30 or more minutes
  • Work at a moderate intensity - you should be able to carry on a conversation
  • Always warm up with 5 or more minutes of light activity.
  • Stretch after your workout

If you prefer home workouts, you might enjoy these workouts:

You can also check out your local gym or health club to find out what kinds of classes they offer for seniors. It's much more fun and motivating to workout with friends.

Flexibility & Balance for Seniors

It's important to stay flexible as you get older, so plan on stretching after your workouts or incorporate yoga into your routine. Be sure your muscles are warm when you stretch, either from working out or after getting out of a hot bath or shower. Try this basic Flexibility Workout and be sure to incorporate balance exercises into your day.

Remember that any activity is better than none, so start with something easy and enjoyable. You'll find that, over time, exercise can help you improve your quality of life and help you age gracefully.


Davies, K., Heaney; R., Ratterty; K. Decline in muscle mass with age in women: A longitudinal study using an indirect measure. Metabolism. 2002 Jul;51(7):935-9.

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