Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, exercise can help you. You really can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, in most cases you have more to lose by not being active. So the next time you find yourself sitting on the couch for hours on end, think about getting up and walking around the block or taking out the garbage. You don’t have to run marathons to get healthier, but you do need to take action. You need to be active.
Here are just a few of the benefits. Exercise and physical activity can help with:
- Improve your ability to do the everyday things you want to do
- Manage and improve diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis
- Maintain and improve your physical strength and fitness
- Improve your balance
- Reduce feelings of depression and may improve mood and overall well-being.
Now you know there is no magic wand – right?
But you can create a plan. You can’t get off the couch once or twice a week for 10 minutes and expect all of the benefits of being active. But… it is a step in the right direction and believe it or not, you will find that all activity is beneficial. So if it’s all you can do, do it. And, if your doctor agrees, then build on that success as progress as you feel comfortable.
Note: if you haven’t exercised in a while, or you are increasing your exercise routine, check with your doctor to be sure that the exercises you choose are right for you. Walking may be the exercise you need and your doctor will be able to take medications and other important factors into consideration for your plans.
How Much Physical Activity Do I Need?
The goal is to achieve at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate-intensity endurance activity each week. Being active at least 3 days a week is best, but doing anything is better than doing nothing at all. If you cannot do 150 minutes a week because of a health condition, do as much as your condition allows.
See our article – Q. How Much Physical Activity You Really Need for more information.
Isn’t it better for older adults to “take it easy” and save their strength?
You may be surprised to know that regular physical activity is very important to the health and abilities of older people. In fact, studies show that “taking it easy” is risky. For the most part, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn’t happen just because they’ve aged. It’s usually because they’re not active. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses. Balance is a type of exercise and is a good example of an ability that can diminish as we get older. Lower body exercises can help us maintain our ability to balance and these exercise generally are easy to do.
See our Balance Exercise Page for simple balance exercises. Print these and take notes on the back about your routine. Mark the date of your workout, the day of week, time exercising, how many repetitions. Your notes are great motivational tools.
So needless to so say, staying active is important throughout life. Regular exercise and physical activity help you stay strong and fit enough to keep doing the things you enjoy. No matter what your age, you can find activities that meet your fitness level and needs.
How Do I Stay Motivated?
Success starts with YOU – how fit and active you are now and how much effort you put into being active. Visit Go4Life motivation tools to help you fight off excuses, get motivated, and keep going. To gain the most benefits, enjoy all 4 types of exercise, stay safe while you exercise, and be sure to eat a healthy diet, too!
See Knowledge is Motivational! for additional information about the four (4) basic exercise types.
Thank you for spending time with us today. Wishing you the best of health!
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