Keep Active As You Get Older

You can take steps to stay healthy and independent as you get olderPhysical activity is good for people of all ages. Staying active can help:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer
  • Improve your strength and balance so you can prevent injuries and stay independent
  • Reduce symptoms of depression
  • Improve your ability to think, learn, and make decisions

Before you start…

If you have a health problem like heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, talk to your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activities.

  • If you were not exercising before, start slowly. Begin with 10 minutes of aerobic activity and gradually build up to doing 30 minutes at a time.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days of the week.
  • Choose aerobic activities – activities that make your heart beat faster – like walking fast, dancing, swimming, or raking leaves.
  • Tell your doctor if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, or unplanned weight loss.

Do strengthening activities 2 days a week.

  • Try using exercise bands or lifting hand weights. You can also use bottles of water or cans of food as weights.
  • Breathe out as you lift the weight, and breathe in as you lower it. Don’t hold your breath – holding your breath can cause unsafe changes in your blood pressure.

Do balance activities 3 or more days a week.

  • Practice standing on one foot (hold onto a chair if you need to at first).
  • Stand up from a sitting position without using your hands.
  • Learn tai chi (“ty chee”), a Chinese mind-body exercise that involves moving the body slowly and gently.
  • Sign up for a yoga class, or try following a yoga video at home.

 

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