As a senior person, it can be difficult to exercise. Your body is not as flexible as it used to be, your joints get angry with you more often, and staying active is proving much more challenging.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be fit or maintain a healthy, energetic lifestyle! There are many senior-friendly exercise machines that are easy to use but effective at keeping people in good shape.
One such machine is the trusted treadmill, and this article will discuss the best treadmill exercises for seniors, as well as a few other important points.
How Does Walking on Treadmill Help an Elderly Person?
Walking on a treadmill actually has many benefits, and not all of them always come to mind when you think of this exercise machine.
Here’s a look at some of the most common benefits seniors get from using a treadmill regularly:
Better Lung Capacity
Seniors can improve their lung capacity as well as pulmonary function by walking on a treadmill often. Anyone who has problems breathing can benefit from light exercise on a regular basis. As a result, seniors will find that they’re better able to perform their daily functions and do more activities without getting too out of breath.
Good for People Who Suffer Strokes
People who have chronic strokes can find it hard to move properly or walk around with ease. Walking on a treadmill can improve their health, so they’re able to be more mobile without depending on others.
Improved General Fitness
Regularly using a treadmill will improve a senior’s health over time, while their capacity to walk long distances is improved as well. Having an exercise routine will increase your body’s overall fitness and health, but only if you stick to a workout plan.
Helps With Physical Therapy
Many physical therapy plans include walking on a treadmill, proving that it’s good for the body. It provides the same benefits as normal walking without the risk of falling over obstacles or down hills.
Although walking a treadmill is a low-impact form of exercise, it’s still a good way to burn calories. This can go a long way towards helping seniors maintain a healthy weight. On average, walking for 30 minutes can burn about 140 calories.
Struggling to walk without falling is something that many seniors sadly have to face, but walking on a treadmill can help improve their coordination and gait. This can lower the risk of falling and getting injured.
Improved Leg Muscles
Treadmill walking can help build leg muscles, especially when the incline is increased. This should be done with care, though, to avoid hurting any muscles.
Strengthens Abdominal Muscles
Regular walking helps to strengthen the body’s abdominal muscles because they have to stabilize the pelvis and trunk. By raising the intensity of exercises, these muscles can be made much stronger, while your overall stability will also be improved.
Helps Maintain Strength and Heart Health
Using a treadmill regularly for walking can also improve your heart health and help you maintain your strength. This exercise keeps your metabolic rate boosted and can be part of a healthy lifestyle for proper weight maintenance.
Potential Risks to Keep In Mind
While treadmills are generally safe to use regularly, there is still a risk of falling involved. Don’t use the treadmill too intensely, and if you have poor balance, be careful with the incline.
Best Treadmill Speed for Seniors
The speed that you set the treadmill to will depend on your fitness, the condition of your body, and how intense you want the exercise to be. Don’t use a speed that is too slow because this can actually lead to accidents, but don’t go too high with the miles per hour either.
In general, four to six miles an hour tends to be a good speed for seniors.
How Many Miles Should Seniors Walk on a Treadmill?
Much like the best speed for you, the amount of miles you walk also depends on your health and fitness level. On average, a senior who wants to be healthy and fit should walk for at least 150 miles a week.
This means you should walk two and a half hours a week, which can be achieved by walking 30 minutes a day for five days of the week. The days you choose can be any you like, and you can reach 30 minutes by exercising three times a day for 10 minutes.
Of course, if your health doesn’t allow that, it’s okay to adjust your miles to suit your body.
If you prefer to run on your treadmill, you should only do so for about 75 minutes a week. That is equal to 15 minutes a day, and five days a week. You can do a combination of running and walking if that’s something you’re comfortable with.
Keep in mind that running can be tough, so if illness or health problems make it difficult, just stick to walking regularly.
How Seniors Can Lose Weight Using a Treadmill
Losing weight is not easy at an older age. The body’s metabolism isn’t as active as it used to be, meaning weight loss is more challenging. There is a formula that might work, though, and it’s called the 12-3-30 formula.
This formula means you should put your treadmill incline on 12, set the speed at four to five km per hour, and walk for 30 minutes. (Not sure why the formula uses a three instead of a four or five)
If this isn’t working for you, simply stick to a consistent exercise routine that pushes your body a little bit further over time.
Best Treadmill Workouts for Seniors
Seniors can choose between walking on a treadmill and running on it. Here are two examples of both that can work for seniors no matter how fit they are.
This can be done five days a week, and the incline of the machine should only be slight. The speed can be regular, or you can choose to do brisk walking. In the first week, walk for only five minutes. Then, as time goes by, increase the time by five minutes until you’re able to do half an hour a day.
It will take six weeks before you can run 30 minutes and this will allow your body to get fit over time and avoid injury.
You should approach running gradually as well. Walk five minutes to warm up and then run at a steady pace for about three minutes. Do this five days a week and increase your time by three minutes every week until you reach 15 minutes.
You’ll reach the goal of 75 minutes in five weeks and avoid injury by taking it slow.
Treadmills are awesome for exercise for seniors but should always be used with care. Consult a doctor if using a treadmill is making you feel very sore or uncomfortable.