senior happy after working out

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
  • Lower your pain
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve symptoms of anxiety or 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 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

  • If you weren’t physically active before, start slowly. Even 5 minutes of physical activity has health benefits, and you can build up to more over time!
  • Choose activities that get your heart beating 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 muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.

  • Try using exercise bands or lifting hand weights. You can also use books or 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 unsafe changes in your blood pressure.

Do balance exercises.

  • Practice standing on 1 foot — you can hold on to a chair if you’re feeling unsteady.
  • Walk backwards or sideways.
  • Learn tai chi, a mind-body exercise that improves balance.
  • Sign up for a yoga class or try out a yoga video at home.

Get a mix of activity types at the same time.

When you do something that counts as more than 1 type of physical activity (like aerobic and muscle-strengthening), you get even more health benefits. For example:

  • Try ballroom or salsa dancing
  • Rake leaves in the yard
  • Take a water aerobics class

Serenity Home Care & Rehab in Ann Arbor shares great content to help seniors and others.