HEALTH: Exercise study is a game changer for seniors |

HEALTH: Exercise study is a game changer for seniors

Matilda Charles

Recent studies have shown that seniors need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week to help guard against heart disease and stroke, even diabetes. Previous guidelines said that we needed to have that moderate-intensity activity spread out over most days of the week.

Researchers of a new study wanted to know whether it mattered how often we exercised, or it if was even important to get that exercise every day. What they learned might be a game changer for many of us who don’t want to make exercise a daily event or even work out for long blocks of time: It doesn’t matter whether we do it all at once, or in small blocks of 10 minutes, or somewhere in between, as long as we get in our 150 minutes each week.

They used more than 2,000 participants who agreed to wear accelerometers on their wrist to monitor their every move for a week. While the participants represented a wide range of ages, it was thought that the results applied to seniors, as the oldest participants were up to 79 years of age.

That’s not to say we should forget about muscle building. Cardio for the heart is one thing, but muscles keep us upright, strong and balanced. We can get our cardio in pushing a lawn mower or riding a bike, anything that accelerates the heart rate, according to the information for older adults on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

For muscle-strengthening activities for the major muscle groups on two or more days a week, the CDC recommends lifting weights, working with resistance bands, heavy gardening and yoga — whatever works the back, chest, shoulders, arms, legs and hips.

This should make it much easier to stay in shape!

Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Send email to

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