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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!

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, or add it to your daily calendar at a specific time each day.
  • Talk with your doctor about specific exercises and activities you can do safely if you have concerns about your health.
  • Start slowly and gradually build up your activities as you become stronger.
  • Get a step counter to keep track of 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 – don't be hard on yourself – and congratulate yourself for your efforts!

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:

Preventing Falls

Research shows that being physically active is the single most important way to reduce your risk for falling. Other ways to prevent falls include:

  • Make your home safe by removing clutter and small rugs, and adding handrails
  • Talk with your doctor about medications and vision problems that may increase your risk for falling.