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 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.
- Choose activities that make your heart beat faster, like walking fast, dancing, or raking leaves.
- Start slowly. Build up to 30 minutes on most days of the week, at least 10 minutes at a time.
- 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 something, and breathe in as you relax. Holding your breath can cause changes in your blood pressure.
Do balance activities 3 or more days a week.
- Practice standing on one foot.
- Stand up from a sitting position.
- 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.