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Stay Active… and Stay Healthy!
Just 30 minutes of daily physical activity can increase your overall health and well-being. Regular exercise can lead to fewer doctor visits, improve your mood, and reduce your need for medicines to treat a variety of illnesses.
Regular physical activity also helps you:
- Build and maintain physical strength
- Stay independent as you age
- Manage and prevent some diseases (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer)
- Reduce feelings of depression
- Improve your balance (which is important in preventing falls)
How do I start?
You don’t have to be an Olympian to improve your fitness, but it’s important to match physical activity to your abilities and needs. If you’re able, go for a brisk, daily walk or swim. If you’re less mobile, a stretching routine while seated is a great start. Find something you enjoy doing, make it part of your daily routine, and increase your level of activity over time. If you have any questions about what level of exercise is right for you, talk to your doctor.
What kind of exercise is best?
You can choose a form of exercise based on your fitness goals. Most exercise programs focus on improving one of four physical abilities:
Endurance. These activities improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Examples are walking, yardwork, swimming, biking, climbing stairs, and playing tennis.
Strength. Strong muscles help you to stay independent and carry out everyday activities. Strength exercises include weight lifting and using resistance bands.
Balance. Balance exercises can help prevent falls. Exercises include standing on one foot, the heel-to-toe walk, tai chi, yoga, or Pilates.
Flexibility. Stretching exercises help maintain flexibility, which helps with everyday activities. Yoga programs target improved flexibility.
Where can I join an exercise program?
You might think fitness centers are just about lifting weights or running on a treadmill. But most fitness centers offer other fun exercise programs—some designed especially for seniors. Whatever your fitness level, there’s a program or activity to help you reach your goals.
Ask your local fitness center about:
- Tai Chi or Qi Gong
- Water aerobics
- Chair aerobics
- Walking programs