It is never too late to start exercising. Exercise has benefits at any age. Staying active will allow you to continue being independent and the lifestyle you enjoy. The right kind of regular exercise can also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and falls.
You don't need to spend hours in the gym every day to see benefits. Moving your body just 30 minutes a day is enough to improve your health.
An effective exercise program needs to be fun and helps to keep you motivated. It helps to have a goal. Your goal might be to:
Your exercise program may also 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. Your provider can suggest exercises and activities that are right for you.
Exercises can be grouped into four main categories, although many exercises fit into more than one category:
Aerobic exercise increases 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:
Stretching can help your body stay flexible. To stay limber:
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.