A little can go a long way when it comes to exercise. If you’re over 60, an expert shares exactly what happens to your body when you exercise for just one hour a week. Whether you’re going through a rough time or simply like to keep things short and sweet with your routine, you can still enjoy the wonderful benefits of physical activity by setting aside an hour of your time each week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older individuals can reap the benefits of regular exercise — and exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous. Even if you lead a more sedentary lifestyle, you can start things off with quick intervals of moderately vigorous exercise (5 to 10 minutes), slowly increasing it along the way. As with any new exercise program, if you are over 60, you should always check with your healthcare provider before starting.
We talked with Matt Morris, master trainer and director of programming, NASM-CPT at Burn Boot Camp, which reveals what happens to your body after 60 when you work out for one hour a week. So lace up your sneakers and get ready to find out all about the benefits!
What happens to your body when you exercise one hour a week?
According to the Rush University Health System, a loss of energy is a normal side effect of aging. Your surroundings and genes can cause changes in your cells, leading to a loss of strength and mass in your muscles. Plus, as you get older, your muscles aren’t as flexible as they used to be. It goes without saying that engaging in more vigorous activities can become very stressful.
But don’t stress, just because getting into your older years definitely doesn’t mean you have to write off exercise! Morris outlines some of the key benefits of exercising one hour per week for individuals over the age of 60. They include – but are not limited to – enhanced strength, which will enhance your overall quality of life; improved balance, which reduces your chances of suffering from a fall; a nice boost of energy every day; Improve cognitive function. and prevention of bone loss.
Science supports this. According to research by an international team of researchers from Australia, Norway, and the United Kingdom, engaging in just 60 minutes of physical activity each week can help you avoid depression down the road. “Assuming a causal relationship, 12% of future episodes of depression could have been prevented if all participants engaged in at least one hour of physical activity each week,” the researchers wrote.
Plus, according to the Mayo Clinic, you’ll burn some impressive calories exercising for an hour! For example, low-impact aerobics can burn about 365 calories for a 160-pound person, water aerobics can burn about 402 calories, swimming laps can burn about 423 calories, and walking can burn about 314 calories.
What are the best exercises to do after 60?
You’ve likely heard this before, but strength training is what’s most important—especially as you get older. This is because getting older comes with a loss of lean muscle mass, and strength training can help you maintain it and build it back. “Strength training is the most important type of exercise routine for improving quality of life as you age,” Morris says.
In addition to strength-training sessions, Morris explains that Pilates and yoga are stellar, low-impact exercises that contribute to a greater range of motion in all of your joints. And don’t skip swimming, cycling or rowing. “[These are] other types of low-impact exercises that will provide aerobic benefits, [such as] Strengthening [your] Cardiovascular health and lung capacity.”
Alexa is the deputy editor of Mind + Body at Eat This, Not That!, and oversees the M+B channel and introduces fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa