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You have probably heard that exercise and activity is good for you. In fact exercise is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself, especially as you get older. Being physically active can help you stay strong and fit enough to keep doing the things you like to do as you get older. Making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your life can improve your health and help maintain your independence.

Be as active as possible

It can be tough to make exercise part of your daily routine. Staying active can produce long-term health benefits and even improve health for some older people who already have diseases and disabilities. Try and think of exercise like you do your medications…be consistent.

Being inactive can be risky

Some older adults are reluctant to exercise as they think it is too hard or will harm them.  Some think they need special equipment or to join a gym. Yet studies show that 'taking it easy' is risky and can cause you to lose your independence. Older adults who are inactive lose ground in 4 important areas that are important for staying healthy: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Lack of exercise can lead to more visits to the doctor, more trips to the ER and greater use of medications.

Prevent or delay disease

Scientists have found that staying active can prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities. For example studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease or diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps with high blood pressure, balance problems or difficulty walking.

Manage stress and improve mood

Regular moderate exercise can help manage stress and improve your mood. Activity can help reduce feelings of depression and improve your cognitive function.

4 types of exercise:


Endurance activities include walking or swimming which increase your breathing and heart rate. It improves the health of your heart, lungs and circulatory system. They can make it easier for you to:

  • Push your grandchildren on swings

  • Vacuum

  • Work in the garden

  • Rake leaves

  • Play a sport


Strength activities include lifting weights and using resistive bands. They can make it easier for you to:

  • Climb stairs

  • Carry groceries

  • Open jars

  • Carry laundry up/down stairs

  • Carry smaller grandchildren

  • Lift mulch in garden


Balance exercises like tai chi can improve your ability to control your body when you are moving or still. Improving balance can help you to:

  • Prevent falls

  • Stand on tiptoes to reach high

  • Walk up and down stairs

  • Walk on uneven ground without falling


Flexibility exercises can help you to stay limber which helps you move more easily. Improving flexibility can help you to:

  • Look over your shoulder to back the car up

  • Make the bed

  • Bend over to tie your shoes

  • Put a sweater over your head

  • Swing a golf club


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