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Fitness experts caution seniors considering high-intensity workouts

October 4, 2012

Most older adults recognize that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, with many making staying physically active a priority. While some retirees may be tempted to push the limits with high-intensity regimens, fitness experts say it's especially crucial for seniors to recognize their limits, The New York Times reports.

Intense exercises have become one of the fastest-growing trends in the fitness world, with some people placing a premium on these time-efficient workouts. The results are often pretty impressive, but they beg the question: are they safe for seniors? Some experts say it's all relative. For older adults who are in great shape and have made exercise part of senior living, it may not be too intense. However, for retirees with arthritis or another similar condition it may be better to find an alternate route to stay active.

"I love this kind of explosive body-weight training," personal trainer Bob Phillips told the Times. "But is it a good fit for a 60-something individual with a couple of real-life, age-related orthopedic issues? I don't think it's a good fit."

The workouts also highlight the importance of seniors recognizing when they're at their limits. Even if it's less intense exercise, whether it be jogging or cycling, noticing pain, discomfort or any other symptom, something may be amiss and should be followed up by a discussion with a medical professional.

Whatever option one chooses, what's important is that seniors are getting the recommended amount of physical activity each week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, whether in the form or walking, swimming or cycling. The CDC also recommends two days of strength or resistance training.