Regular physical activity helps to:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, colon cancer
- Improve one's mood
- Relieve the pain of arthritis
- Improve brain functioning
- Reduce the risk of falling
Being active does not require going to a fitness center or buying expensive exercise equipment. Housework and gardening help maintain strength and require stretching, which keeps your body flexible. Walking is ideal exercise that is good 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, so it is important to choose activities you enjoy!
If you are starting new exercises and activity, it is recommended that you discuss this with your health care provider. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for physical activity are shown below – and remember that it's never too late to start!
- Participate in moderate-intensity aerobic activities (walking, bicycling, etc.) 3-5 days a week for at least 30 minutes (this can be 30 minutes all at once, or divided into three 10 minute sessions),
- Stretch for flexibility every day, and
- Do strength-building activities or exercises 2-3 days per week.
- Older adults are encouraged to do exercises that help maintain or improve balance if they are at risk of falling.
Click here to find physical activity and exercise programs in your community.
More resources about staying active for people with disabilities and older adults:
- Physical activity guidelines and tips for older adults from the National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability provides information and options for being physically active for people with any type of disability.