Exercise Ideas for Older Adults
Finding ways to get exercise as you get older is a smart and easy way to stay fit
and improve your health. Exercise is just as important in your older years as when
you were younger. Research shows that an exercise routine offers a wealth of health
It’s also well known that regular exercise can help to boost heart health, maintain
a healthy body weight, keep joints flexible and healthy, and improve balance to reduce
Exercise does not take as much time as you may think. For general health benefits,
older adults need about 2½ hours of aerobic (walking, running, and other activities
that get the heart pumping faster) activity per week. These activities should be combined
with activities that strengthen muscles at least 2 days per week.
Joining a gym and making use of the machines, trainers, and classes is one way to
exercise. But you can also have fun there, meet new people, and do a variety of different
activities that keep you healthy and strong.
Always talk with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise or physical
Easy ways to exercise
Exercise actually comes in many forms, including activities that feel more like fun
than hard work:
Dance. Sign up for a dance class with your spouse or a friend or carve out some dance time
Go bowling. Join a bowling league or make a weekly date with some of your friends. If you have
grandchildren, bring them along.
Rediscover a favorite sport. Whether you love the elegance of golf or the challenge of tennis, make time for these
leisure activities. If possible, vary your activities over the course of each week
to work different muscle groups.
Enjoy the great outdoors. When the weather cooperates, ride your bike, visit a local park for a hike, or simply
go for a walk. These are all great exercises that get you outside and into the fresh
Get in the swim. Swimming is an excellent exercise choice, particularly if you have arthritis joint
pain. Join a local fitness center with a pool. Work in regular swims to meet your
cardiovascular needs without straining your joints.
Balance and strengthen count, too
To help prevent falls, you also want to practice exercises that improve your balance.
Yoga and tai chi fit the bill. They will also help you manage stress, feel more relaxed,
and improve muscle tone. Yoga or tai chi classes are widely available in many areas,
from senior centers to the Y.
Taking some time to stretch every day can also help keep your joints flexible and
keep you moving well. It’s also important to lift some light weights. Canned goods
from your cupboard are a fine substitute. You can also use a resistance band to tone
Work out while you work
Add more energy when doing chores and these regular activities will count as a workout:
Remember that getting older doesn't mean slowing down. You've got to keep moving to
stay young at heart…as well as in mind, body, and spirit.