Health Department Notes
Quick tips to stay active as you get older
Physical activity is good for people of all ages. Staying active can help:
• Prevent heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer
• Improve your strength and balance so you can stay independent
• Keep you from getting depressed
Before you begin an exercise program, talk to your doctor if you have a health problem like heart disease, diabetes or obesity.
Aim for two hours and 30 minutes a week of aerobic activities.
• Choose activities that make your heart beat faster, like walking fast, dancing or raking leaves.
• Start slowly - as little as five minutes at a time. Build up to 30 minutes on most days of the week, at least 10 minutes at a time.
• Tell your doctor if you have shortness of breath, chest pain or unplanned weight loss.
Do strengthening activities two days a week.
• Try lifting hand weights or using exercise bands.
• Breathe out as you lift something and breathe in as you relax. (Holding your breath can cause changes in your blood pressure.)
Do balance activities three or more days a week.
• Practice standing on one foot.
• Stand up from a sitting position.
• Learn Tai chi (“tie chee”), a Chinese mind-body exercise that involves moving the body slowly and gently.
• Sign up for a yoga class or try a yoga video that you can do at home.
Regular exercise and physical activity are important to the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. Regular physical activity over long periods of time can produce long-term health benefits. That’s why health experts say that older adults should be active every day to maintain their health.