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Regular physical activity helps to:
You don’t have to go to a fitness center or buy expensive equipment to be active. Housework and gardening help maintain strength. They require stretching, which keeps your body flexible. Walking is ideal for the heart, lungs, muscles and joints. Dancing and tai chi aid balance and help prevent falls. There are many ways to be physically active. Choose activities you enjoy. And remember it's never too late to start.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage chronic health conditions
(e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes and colon cancer)
- Improve one's mood
- Relieve arthritis pain
- Improve brain function
- Reduce the risk of falling
If you are starting new exercises and activity, discuss them with your health care provider. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for physical activity include:
- Participate in moderate aerobic activities (walking, bicycling, etc.). You should exercise between three and five days a week for at least 30 minutes. This can be 30 minutes one time or be divided into three 10-minute sessions).
- Stretch every day.
- Do strength-building activities or exercises between two and three days per week.
- Do exercises that help maintain or improve balance if you are at risk of falling.
More resources for staying active
Research shows that being physically active is the single most important way to reduce your risk for falling. Other ways to prevent falls include:
- Remove clutter and small rugs and add handrails to make your home safe.
- Talk with your doctor about medications and vision problems that may increase your risk for falling.
Ideas for staying active
- Go for a walk with a friend.
- Join an exercise class at your senior or community center.
- Make regular physical activity a priority. Try being active first thing in the morning before you get busy. You could also add it to your daily calendar at a specific time each day.
- Talk with your doctor about safe exercises and activities if you have health concerns.
- Start slowly and gradually build up your activities as you get stronger.
- Get a step counter to track your walking, set goals and measure progress.
- Drink water before, during and after exercising.
- Try new activities and exercise programs if you're getting bored with your usual routine.
- Set small goals and congratulate yourself for your efforts.
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