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1 Exercise Test and 7 Home-based Resistance Exercises for Seniors

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended regular physical activity as one of the most important things that seniors can do for their health. This recommendation consists of a mixture of aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activity as illustrated in the picture below.

Most of the seniors will not be having problem to engage in aerobic activity, be it brisk walking, cycling, dancing or so on. However, muscles strengthening activity, so called "resistance training" can be quite a challenge for them.

Risk of Exercise Intolerance, Heart Attack, and Fall : A Valid Concern

Evidence suggests that sudden cardiac death occurs every 1.5 million episodes of vigorous physical exertion in men and every 36.5 million hours of moderate-to-vigorous exertion in women.

To come out a safe and effective resistance training program for seniors, the target audience has to be well defined, together with an appropriate exercise intensity.

Physical Capacity Screening (Important)

For this exercise program, the target audience are

1. Adults who aged 45 and above

2. Able to walk independently, with or without walking aid

3. Able to perform 5 times sit to stand independently from a chair without using their hands (as illustrated in the GIF)

Those who are unable to fulfill all 3 criteria, are not suitable for this exercise program

Exercise Test: 30 seconds sit to stand test(Important).

Participants are required to perform sit to stand without using their hand (as the GIF above) as many time as possible for 30 seconds. This is mainly to rule out the possibility of exercise intolerance before starting these resistant exercises.

Monitor your body responses immediately after this 30 seconds sit to stand test. Look out for any sign and symptoms of exercise intolerance (picture below). If presents with any of the sign and symptoms, do not continue and look for medical assistance.

Exercise Intensity : How Many Repetition Should I Do?

For muscle strengthening in younger adults, the emphasize tends to be on low repetition with heavy weight. However, for older adults, studies found that high repetition with light weights are beneficial too.

This exercise program requires the participants to do 15 repetitions while carrying weights that make them work at moderate intensity. Moderate intensity means 3~5 out of 10 under the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale as shown below.

Whenever the participants feel that the exercises has became easier as a result of them getting stronger, they are advised to increase the weights.

Summary of exercise intensity:

Repetition : 15 reps

Weight : Moderate, 3 to 5 out of 10 (RPE, diagram below)

Set : Start with 2 sets of 15 repetition, slowly increase to 3 sets

Times : 3 times a week, with a rest day in between

Video on exercises

The Rehab Studio provide Tele-Rehabilitation during this critical period.

Call us to find out more!

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