Cardio Exercises for the Elderly to Boost Memory

The elderly experience many physical and mental problems as they age. A person’s physical strength and flexibility decrease as they age. Memory loss and Alzheimer‘s are the most common mental health problems in old age. The only way to prevent dementia and have a strong memory in old age is to exercise. Strengthening the elderly memory with cardio exercises is a guaranteed and simple way to enjoy the health of the body and mind.

Undoubtedly, proper exercise is necessary for all age groups. Cardio workouts for seniors increase blood flow to the limbs and cause the body to more oxygen. This simple issue is the key to the health and prevention of dementia in the elderly. The effect of physical activity on the memory of the elderly is greater than any pill, syrup, or other medication. There is no magic way to boost memory; the only effective solution is to do regular exercise.

Boosting Memory with Cardio Exercises for the Elderly

Older adults experience several changes in the brain. Gradually, some of the cognitive abilities and short-term memory might become weaker. Sometimes even long-term memory and verbal and visual abilities are affected by ageing. The only way to prevent these problems is to keep your brain healthy. Interestingly, the brain is also a muscle, and just like the rest of the body’s muscles, it maintains its proper shape and form by doing exercises.

Improving the memory of the elderly with exercise is only one of the benefits of strengthening the brain. Increased concentration, the ability to analyze, maintaining physical balance, and general health of the body is achieved with regular exercise. For better results, it is good to seek the answer to the question: Which exercises can wake up your body and brain?

exercises to improve memory in the elderly
A senior man doing exercise on a fitness club.

In general, proper exercise maintains the health of the body and organs of the body. Although improving the memory of the elderly is seen with exercise, regular exercise also has a surprising effect on cardiovascular health. Improving public health along with increasing memory are two important factors in the independence of the elderly.

Strengthening the elderly memory with exercise stimulates and improves the function of brain cells and prevents dementia. Even people who have never exercised at this age can benefit from the effects of physical activity on memory.

Learning new skills such as playing music, language learning for seniors, drawing, etc., helps improve memory by involving brain cells. Participating in social activities, talking to peers, playing with grandchildren all affect the physical and mental health of the elderly.

In general, two types of exercise are recommended for the elderly:

  1. Aerobic exercises for the elderly
  2. Anaerobic exercises for the elderly

Cardio or aerobic exercise involves activities that increase the heart rate and involve the large muscles of the body and lungs. This type of exercise involves the muscles for a relatively long time. On the other hand, anaerobic exercise causes sudden and intense pressure on the muscles and can usually be done in a shorter period. Combining these movements can be effective in strengthening the elderly’s memory. The following are examples of appropriate exercises in old age that are effective in improving mental function and strengthening memory:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Gardening
  • Cycling

It should be noted that there are three types of cardio exercises that the elderly can benefit from. Depending on the physical condition of the elderly, they can add them to the workout program of the elderly.

Low-Intensity Cardio for Seniors

This group of exercises can slightly increase the rate of heartbeat and breathing. Low-intensity exercises are good choices for the elderly suffering from mild conditions that make exercise dangerous or difficult. Walking is the best low-intensity exercise that the elderly can do. They can benefit from walking while doing their daily tasks of shopping.

exercises to improve memory in the elderly
Fit active senior woman enjoying in swimming pool.

Swimming is another low-intensity cardio exercise for seniors. If the elderly are not good at swimming, they can walk in the swimming pool.

All of these cardio exercises can increase the heartbeat and lead to an increased flow of food and nutrients to the brain, which can boost the mental power of the elderly.

Moderate-Intensity Cardio for Seniors

These exercises are mainly suggested for healthy elderly. Cycling can be considered a moderate-intensity exercise. If the elderly experience balance problems, they should avoid cycling since they can expose themselves to various hazards. Hiking is also another moderate-intensity cardio that exerts much pressure compared to walking. Running at a medium speed is classified in this group of exercises. For choosing a sport, do not go to the exercises seniors should avoid.

Older adults who do not suffer from muscle weakness and physical problems should include running in their daily routine. Running outdoors in the park is much better than running on a treadmill. The intensity of running depends on the level of health and physical strength of the elderly. Running with a group of friends of the same age is recommended. You will be more active with your friends and have a higher motivation to do regular exercise.

exercises to improve memory in the elderly
Two healthy senior people jogging on a country road.

There is no best workout time for seniors. The level of health of the individual and physical strength is a determining factor. Even a much smaller amount of daily exercise will eventually improve memory function. It is recommended for cardiovascular health at least three times a week for half an hour each time.

Thirty minutes of regular exercise has amazing effects on brain muscle. It is difficult for seniors who have just joined the ranks of athletes to do 30 minutes of continuous exercise. For these people, exercising three times a day for 10 minutes each time is suitable. For example, run for 10 minutes and walk at a slower pace for 5 minutes. Repeat until the quorum is reached.

High-Intensity Cardio for Seniors

Doing these exercises can make talking difficult due to an increased rate of breathing and heart rate. These exercises put much strain on the joints. The best senior cardio workout is exercising on an elliptical machine to reduce the pressure on your ankles and knees.

A recent study conducted at McMaster University (Ontario, Canada) showed that high-intensity cardio for the elderly is the best form to improve memory function. This study was conducted for 12 weeks between adults in the age range of 60 to 88. The memory improvement of the elderly who have done high-intensity cardio was bigger than other groups of seniors who have done low or moderate-intensity workouts.

Stretching exercises to improve memory of the elderly

Aerobics is one of the most effective exercises to strengthen memory in the elderly. With aerobics, the coordination between the movements of the limbs increases, and the body is in a balanced position. Older adults who participate in group aerobics classes have higher morale and mental capacity.

exercises to improve memory in the elderly
A senior sportsman doing stretching in a park.

Even when you are sitting still, you can do stretching exercises to strengthen your muscles and increase your mental strength. Poor memory is one of the consequences of losing brain cells that will improve with regular exercise. For example, raise your hands above your head and count to 10. Do the same for the sides and front. Jumping jack movement without jumping is also very effective.

Move your legs left and right. Get help from a chair and bend your knees. If you have knee pain, sit on a chair and lift your legs off the floor.

Although the principles of exercise design for older people are similar to those of other groups, special care should be taken when setting up a fitness program for them. For most elderly patients, low-intensity exercise is recommended. According to experts, the goals of exercise in the elderly should include the following:

  • Maintaining a functional state for independent living
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Slowing down the progression of chronic diseases
  • Improving mental health
  • Providing opportunities for social interaction

Older adults should be encouraged to add cardio exercises for seniors at home to their program because low-intensity exercise reduces the risk of injury and regulates the heartbeat and temperature of the body.

The exercise duration should be short at first, and gradually they can increase the duration of each session and increase the intensity of the exercise. The elderly also needs more time to warm up and cool down. Some people can only work for a short time in a training session due to structural and functional limitations, so training sessions should be shorter in duration, lower in intensity, and more repetitive.

A comprehensive physical fitness program certainly includes stretching, flexibility, strength, and balance exercises for the elderly.

However, it may be necessary to adjust the type of exercise that depends on the individual’s medical condition or pre-workout health.


Elderly memory enhancement does not happen overnight with exercise. According to experts, the minimum time for brain function to improve after exercise is approximately six months. Of course, from the third month, the effects of regular exercise on the body’s health are gradually seen. They will see vitality and liveliness from the first weeks after starting exercises.

‏Disclaimer: ‏Please read it carefully

Source physio-pedia athulyaliving
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17 days ago

I am 62 years old, and I have started running from the age of 30. Running is my favourite cardio exercise, and I consider it a leisure activity. Whether I am running on my treadmill or training outdoors with my friends and loved ones, there is always a running style that I can enjoy and a place that I can explore. The best thing about running is that I can do it alone, or I can do it with my loved ones, and also I can do it whenever I want every day.

14 days ago

I always advise people to do speed walking a few times per week for five miles at a shot. I can speed walk at about four mph.
The conditioning from speed walking will keep you in excellent shape. Add to that a clean diet, and you’ll be in excellent condition. Memory enhancement will happen gradually through this…trust me.
 After completing one year of speed walking, I saw a huge change in myself.
And as far as age is concerned, there are people in their nineties and older who still run and enter races… do not limit yourself!!

11 days ago

How intense should a workout be to be considered dangerous for seniors? Is there a particular number of exercises or workout plans that you are to avoid as a senior? Can you still do high-intensity exercises for a minimal number of repetitions??

9 days ago

I’m in my late 50s and consider myself an active person. I used to run a lot. Now I swim, and I do speed walking. Can I do HIIT workouts? I read somewhere that HIIT is not safe for people after 50.