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Cardio Exercises for Seniors

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As we age, staying active becomes more important than ever. It’s not about building vanity muscles, it’s about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and giving yourself the tools needed to stay safe. Exercise is a crucial part of staying fit and healthy—especially for seniors.

However, there’s one aspect of physical exercise often overlooked: cardio. These exercises are essential for maintaining a healthy heart and overall fitness. Plus, they can be fun and fit easily into your daily routine!

The Importance of Physical Exercise

Physical exercise is essential at any age, but it should be prioritized more and more every year. Regular exercise helps to:

  • Maintain muscle strength
  • Improve balance
  • Improve the immune system
  • Improve mental health

It’s essential to find an activity that suits your body and lifestyle. For seniors, low-impact exercises are often an ideal option. They offer a way to reap the benefits of physical exercise without putting oneself at risk.

How Much Exercise Do Seniors Need?

The CDC recommends that adults over the age of 65 try to engage in:

  • Roughly 150 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity exercises—like cardio—per week
  • Muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 times a week
  • Regular balance exercises

This can easily be broken down into manageable sessions, such as 30 minutes a day over 5 days. So what cardio exercises should seniors engage in?

Senior-Safe Cardio Exercises

Cardio, or cardiovascular exercise, involves any activity that increases a person’s heart rate and improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. This isn’t just about running marathons or climbing mountains, there are plenty of low-impact options for seniors to choose from to reap the benefits of cardio.

Walking & Cycling

Walking is one of the simplest and most accessible forms of cardio. It’s easy on the joints and can be done almost anywhere. Whether it’s a stroll around your neighborhood or a hike in a local park, walking helps improve cardiovascular health and endurance.

You can invite others along and form a walking group to enjoy fun conversations, or use a set of headphones and enjoy some fun tunes while you’re out and about. Plus, walking is an excellent way to get outside and connect with nature.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something a little faster-paced, you can take up cycling. With nothing more than a bicycle, you can explore the great outdoors, and improve your cardiovascular health while you’re at it! Or if you prefer, you can stay indoors with a stationary bike.

wo seniors indoors on stationary bikes working on their cardio.

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics can be an excellent choice for seniors—especially if arthritis, stiffness, or joint pain is involved. Water naturally supports the body and reduces stress on joints, making movements easier to perform. With water aerobics, seniors can still reap the benefits of physical exercise, without putting unnecessary strain on their bodies. 

Meanwhile, the water can add a small degree of resistance, which can help build strength and endurance. It’s an incredible way to stay active, and who doesn’t love a fun dip in the pool?


Dancing is a fantastic way to get your heart pumping while having a great time enjoying the company of others. It can be an efficient cardio workout—moving around to the rhythm of your favorite songs can increase your heart rate and strengthen your muscles without it feeling like a chore.

Dancing also helps improve balance and coordination, which is vital for maintaining health with age. This means that dancing isn’t just a cardio workout—you can work it into your exercise routine to improve other muscles, too.

Gentle Sports

Gentle sports offer a fun way to stay active and social while providing a good dose of cardiovascular exercise. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Pickleball: A social sport mixing badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Easier on the joints, it’s great for exercise, fun, and meeting new people.
  • Golf: A classic game that offers a fun, low-impact way to get out in the sun and stay active.
  • Bocce Ball: Perfect for seniors who want to stay active while enjoying some friendly competition.

These can all be an excellent way to enjoy fresh air and exercise while bonding with friends and family.

Chair Exercises

For those with limited mobility, chair exercises are a wonderful option. They’re designed to be easy to perform when seated while still providing a good cardiovascular workout. You can always try:

  • Chair Marching: Mimic the motion of marching by lifting your knees up and down while sitting.
  • Seated Jacks: Similar to jumping jacks, you extend your arms and legs out to the side and then bring them together.
  • Arm Circles: Stretch your arms out to the sides and make small, controlled circles to increase your heart rate.
  • Seated Dancing: Tap your feet to the beat of your music to engage your leg muscles.

Incorporating these senior-friendly cardio exercises into your routine can make staying active fun and safe.

Living a Healthy Life

Staying active with cardio exercises is a great way to improve your overall health. And here at Crescent Fields at Huntingdon Valley, we believe in helping our residents every day in the journey to improved health. Schedule a visit with us today to find a community that supports you in all of your endeavors!

Written by Crescent Fields

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