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Stay Active As You Get Older: Quick tips

Physical 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 begin...

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.

  • Start slowly. Begin with 10 minutes of aerobic activity and gradually build up to doing 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Choose activities that make your heart beat faster – like walking fast, dancing, 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 cans of food as weights.
  • Breathe out as you lift the weight, and breathe in as you lower it. Holding your breath can cause 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.
Stay Active As You Get Older: Quick tips

Content last updated on:
April 25, 2014