Summertime Exercise Guidelines for Seniors

Seniors Jogging

Summer is here, and it’s the ideal time for seniors to go outdoors, enjoy some fresh air and get some exercise. Not only can exercise help you to feel great, it can also help you stay fit and reduce your health risks. 


More specifically, exercise has been shown to improve heart and lung function, reduce the risk of heart disease, decrease the chance of illness or death from all causes, decrease anxiety and depression, and even slow the aging process.


Janet McNemar, NHA, MBA, Executive Director at Bryn Mawr Terrace, located in Bryn Mawr, PA, says, “For seniors, the key to exercising in the warmer summer months is to strike a balance between getting enough physical activity while not overdoing it and risking heat-related illness. And as always, older Americans should consult with their physician before starting any new exercise regimen.”


Exercise Guidelines for Seniors

The U.S. government recently updated its guidelines for regular physical activity. The guidelines, published in the Nov. 20, 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), included exercise guidelines for senior adults for the first time.

For adults ages 65 and older, the report recommends their allotted minutes include multi-component activities that offer balance training, aerobic exercise, and muscle strengthening, all of which can help older adults reduce their risk of falls. They noted that many recreational activities like dancing, yoga, tai chi, gardening, or sports often incorporate the multiple types of activity you need.

More specifically, the National Institute on Aging (NIH) has issued exercise guidelines to help seniors get “Fit for Life.” These guidelines suggest a combination of four types of physical activities that seniors can try, which address endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

  1. Endurance – Try to build up to at least 30 minutes of exercise that makes you breathe hard on most or all days of the week. Examples include jogging, fast walking, biking, using a treadmill, swimming and dancing.
  2. Strength – Seniors can use weights and resistance bands to build and tone their muscles.


  1. Balance – These types of exercises can help prevent dangerous falls among seniors. Standing on one foot and then the other, and Tai Chi are good examples of activities to improve balance.


  1. Stretching – Stretching helps seniors to improve their flexibility, enabling them to move more freely and complete tasks with less discomfort. There are a variety of stretching exercises seniors can try, which target different parts of the body. Yoga is also viewed as a useful stretching activity.


Be Cool! Ways Seniors Can Stay Heat Safe When Exercising in the Summer

The Mayo Clinic and other health experts advise that if you exercise outdoors in hot weather, you should use these precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.

  • Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of liquids, such as water or sports drinks that boost electrolytes. Stay away from drinks containing alcohol or caffeine. If your doctor has told you to limit your liquids, ask what you should do when it is very hot.
  • Keep an eye on the forecast – Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts. Know what the temperature is expected to be for the duration of your planned outdoor activity.
  • Dress for the heat – Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. If possible, wear a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid midday sun – Exercise in the morning or evening, when it's likely to be cooler outdoors. If possible, exercise in shady areas, or do a water workout in a pool.
  • Use sunscreen – A sunburn decreases your body's ability to cool itself and increases the risk of skin cancer.
  • Exercise indoors – If you're concerned about the heat or humidity, stay indoors. Seniors can exercise at the gym, walk laps inside the mall or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building.
  • Be aware of your medical risks – Certain medical conditions or medications can increase your risk of a heat-related illness. If you plan to exercise in the heat, talk to your doctor about precautions.


Janet adds, “For the best workout experience, seniors should follow these exercise tips and heat precautions to stay healthy, fit and safe this summer.”


For more helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics.


We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, Summertime Exercise Guidelines for Seniors, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

 There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

 We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

 Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

 Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), 

offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living,  personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. 

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at 610.525.8300 or contact us online.

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Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician. 

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