Exercise and Physical Activity: Getting fit for life

The National Institute on Aging has terrific exercise tips that will put some spring in your step!

Go4Life offers free, evidence-based resources for older adults in one convenient place.

Who should exercise?

Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. You can still exercise even when you have a health condition like heart disease or diabetes. In fact, physical activity may help. For most older adults, brisk walking, riding a bike, swimming, weight lifting, and gardening are safe, especially if you build up slowly.

Four ways to be Active

To get all the benefits of physical activity, try all four types of exercise — 1) endurance, 2) strength, 3) balance, and 4) flexibility.

  1. Try to build up to at least 30 minutes of activity that makes you breathe hard on most or all days of the week. Every day is best. That’s called an endurance activity because it builds your energy or “staying power.” You don’t have to be active for 30 minutes all at once. Ten minutes at a time is fine.
  2. Keep using your muscles. Strength exercises build muscles. When you have strong muscles, you can get up from a chair by yourself, you can lift a laundry basket, and you can walk through the park.
  3. Do things to help your balance. Try standing on one foot, then the other. If you can, don’t hold on to anything for support. Get up from a chair without using your hands or arms. Every now and then walk heal-to-toe. As you walk, put the heal of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. Your heel and toes should touch or almost touch.
  4. Stretching can improve your flexibility. Moving more freely will make it easier for you to reach down to tie your shoes or look over your shoulder when you back the car out of your driveway. Stretch when your muscles are warmed up.

Start slowly, don’t hold your breath during strength exercise. Use safety equipment, drink plenty of water, bend forward from the hips, not the waist.

Keep your back straight and have fun!

This blog was submitted by SFHN Member, Sharon Tolleson, a BEMER Distributor  http://sharon.bemergroup.com and “Matter of Balance,” Master Trainer.