It's never too late to start exercising. Exercise has benefits at any age.
Don't worry if you've never exercised, or if you stopped exercising for some reason. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. In addition, the right kind of regular exercise can reduce your chance of heart disease, diabetes, and falls.
An effective exercise program needs to be fun and keep you motivated. It helps to have a goal. Your goal might be:
Your exercise program also may be a way for you to socialize. Taking exercise classes or exercising with a friend are both good ways to be social.
You may have a hard time starting an exercise routine. Once you do start, though, you will begin to notice the benefits, including improved sleep and self-esteem.
Exercise and physical activity can also:
Always talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
Exercises can be grouped into four main categories, although many exercises fit into more than one category:
Aerobic exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. These exercises help your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. They may prevent or delay many diseases, such as diabetes, colon and breast cancers, and heart disease.
Improving your muscle strength can help you climb stairs, carry groceries, and stay independent. You can build muscle strength by:
Balance exercises help prevent falls, which is a concern for older adults. Many exercises that strengthen the muscles in the legs, hips, and lower back will improve your balance. It is often best to learn balance exercises from a physical therapist before starting on your own.
Balance exercises may include:
Streteching can help your body stay flexible. To stay limber:
Age and exercise
Exercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging Page. Updated Oct 20, 2010. Accessed March 7, 2011.
Buchner DM. Physical activity. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 14.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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