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 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 weren’t 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 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 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.