Heart-Healthy Activities in Senior Living

It’s not a “stretch” to say that exercise can extend you life. Most of us already know exercise can add years to our life! Yet somehow scientists have figured out that adding 7,000 steps a day is the magic number.

Even if you make it to 500 steps a day, exercise and activity have long been associated with greater longevity. That’s because more exercise and activity are scientifically proven to improve cardiovascular health.

No wonder Florida senior living communities offer daily fitness activities and classes. It’s one more way they support and promote healthy aging.

How Does Exercise Benefit the Heart?

Poor fitness is a known risk factor for developing heart disease, but even if you’ve been a couch potato for decades, you may still benefit from more exercise!

According to research published by the American Heart Association, it is never too late (or too early) to benefit from the positive effects of exercise on the heart. Even if you get a late start, exercise can be effective in reversing the structural and functional changes in the cardiovascular system associated with heart disease and aging!

Exercise helps the heart move oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to your muscles, tissues and organs. A strong heart muscle is more efficient at transporting and using the oxygen in blood, reducing strain on your vascular system. A heart strengthened by exercise not only pumps blood easier, it pumps more of it with every beat, so it takes fewer beats to deliver essential oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. It also causes the body to release enzymes that remove excess cholesterol from your blood and harmful plaque buildup in arteries.

Atherosclerosis, or the coronary plaque buildup in the arteries, is very common and typically associated with a sedentary lifestyle. More exercise can prevent atherosclerosis by reducing the amount of cholesterol fats in the blood. Conversely, a lack of activity contributes to cholesterol plaque build-up in the walls of arteries, inhibiting blood flow.

As we age, getting adequate exercise can be challenging, but not impossible. It takes more effort, which is why many older adults move to senior living. Senior living assures the physical activity needs of older adults are met along with a daily menu of diverse life enrichment programming. Delicious and nutritious dining combined with gentle fitness classes and activities and can have a significant impact on the health and wellness of older adults.

Gentle Exercise For Older Adults With Limited Mobility

Assisted living communities offer significant health advantages to older adults who may have limited mobility.

If you are concerned about exercise safety due to limited mobility, there are myriad activities that don’t require standing or walking.

It is not uncommon for senior living communities in Florida to offer seated exercise activities that can both raise heart rate and improve muscular strength. Seated exercises are designed for strength building and can improve balance and flexibility in older adults, but they also offer aerobic advantages which strengthen the heart and lungs.

Some exercise can put more stress on weakening joints and strain on the body, so seated exercises or “wheelchair-friendly” exercises at communities like Sonata Senior Living provide an alternative to conventional fitness classes.

With seated exercise, it is entirely possible to reap the rewards of aerobic exercise without placing unwanted stress on joints. For example:

  • Seated Jumping Jacks – arms and legs mimic motions of conventional jumping jacks, but without leaving your chair
  • Seated Shoulder Press – adding weights can improve arm mobility
  • Seated Arm Circles – improves posture, flexibility and mobility of the shoulder
  • Water Aerobics – a great option for those with arthritis and joint paint
  • Chair Yoga – helps keep joint limber and improve blood flow
  • Seated Leg Raises – helps strengthen the core

If you’d like to combine them all (and more) for a whole body seated workout for seniors with maximum cardio benefits, watch this popular video by More Life Health Seniors. Using high intensity interval training (HIIT) exercisesin a seated position helps older adults reach their maximum heart rate for the maximum cardiovascular benefit.

Improving senior mobility through seated exercise also helps to reduce pain and stiffness. If building strength and flexibility are more important to you than raising your heart rate, explore these 13 chair yoga poses complements of yougajournal.com.

Whether seated or standing, high intensity workouts should be tailored to an individual’s fitness level and medical conditions. Everyone is different and will have different comfort levels and abilities, so it is important to talk to a doctor before starting anything new. People who are out of shape, recovering from an injury or have medical conditions should be monitored by a doctor before adding any workout to their daily routine.

If you are considering senior living, you’ll find a large variety of seated, gentle and moderate-intensity exercises for older adults at Sonata Senior Living.

Read more about the science behind exercise and cardiovascular health and talk to your doctor about your risk of developing heart disease.

Learn how award-winning senior living at Sonata improves heart health in older adults and schedule a tour today.



Information provided on this page is for informational and educational purposes. The information provided should not be considered a substitute for individual medical assessment, diagnosis or treatment by your medical provider or physician. In you or someone in your care has a medical problem, contact your doctor or mental health provider.


Visit Sonata Senior Living and find out how personalized programming in assisted living promotes independence and well-being.