4 physical activity tips for older adults

Four people of varying ages doing yoga on mats

Regular physical activity is great for your mental and physical health. It also helps you stay independent as you age.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that you aim to exercise at least 150 minutes every week at a moderate pace, or 75 at a more vigorous pace. The guidelines also recommend that older adults do muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.

Now sure how to get started? These tips can help.

1. Talk with your doctor. Almost anyone, at any age, can exercise safely. If you’re concerned about starting an exercise routine, talk with your doctor. Ask whether there are activities you should avoid and whether any health conditions you have might affect what exercises you can do safely.

2. Start gradually. Begin with low-intensity exercises like walking. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.

3. Develop a well-rounded routine. Include the four main types of exercise:

  • Endurance exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. Brisk walking is a good option.
  • Strength exercises, like lifting weights or using a resistance band, make your muscles stronger.
  • Balance exercises can help prevent falls. This includes standing on one foot.
  • Flexibility exercises, like yoga, stretch your muscles and help you stay limber and maintain mobility as you age.

4. Move throughout the day. Every day presents opportunities to move more. For example, use the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Or park far away from the grocery store entrance instead of in the closest spot.

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