started walking in my neighborhood. Since then, I've seen yellow tulips bloom in spring and red dogwood leaves drop in fall. I always come home with more energy and happy to go on with the rest of the day. Marian (age 77)
Both my wife and I have heart problems. About 2 years ago, we joined our local health club, where we do both endurance and strength training exercises. On the off days, we walk near our house. Its been life-saving for us. Bob (age 78)
These older adults are living proof that exercise and physical activity are good for you, no matter how old you are. In fact, staying active can help you:
You dont need to buy special clothes or belong to a gym to become more active. Physical activity can and should be part of your everyday life. Find things you like to do. Go for brisk walks. Ride a bike. Dance. Work around the house. Garden. Climb stairs. Swim. Rake leaves. Try different kinds of activities that keep you moving. Look for new ways to build physical activity into your daily routine.
To get all of the benefits of physical activity, try all four types of exercise 1) endurance, 2) strength, 3) balance, and 4) flexibility.
Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. You can still exercise even if you have a long-term condition like heart disease or diabetes. In fact, physical activity may help. For most older adults, brisk walking, riding a bike, swimming, weight lifting, and gardening, are safe, especially if you build up slowly. But, check with your doctor if you are over 50 and you arent used to energetic activity. You also should check with your doctor if you have:
Here are some things you can do to make sure you are exercising safely:
Exercise should not hurt or make you feel really tired. You might feel some soreness, a little discomfort, or a bit weary, but you should not feel pain. In fact, in many ways, being active will probably make you feel better.
Local fitness centers or hospitals might be able to help you
find a physical activity program that works for you. You also
can check with nearby religious groups, senior and civic centers,
parks, recreation associations, YMCAs, YWCAs, or even area shopping
malls for exercise, wellness, or walking programs.
Looking for a safe exercise program? Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging has strength, balance, and stretching exercises you can do at home. You can order the free Guide in English from the NIA Information Center. A Spanish version is available online at www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation . NIA also has a 48-minute exercise video/DVD for $7.
Many groups have information about physical activity and exercise for older adults. The following list of Federal and non-Federal organizations will help you get started:
of Sports Medicine
P.O. Box 1440
Indianapolis, IN 46206-1440
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
Exercise for Seniors
"Exercise and Physical Fitness"
Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
Room 738-H, Dept. W
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201-0004
For more information on health and aging, contact:
National Institute on Aging Information
P.O. Box 8057
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057
To order publications (in English or Spanish) or sign up for regular email alerts, go to www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation .
Visit NIHSeniorHealth.gov ( http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov/ ), a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine. This website has health information for older adults, including information about exercise and physical activity. There are also special features that make it simple to use. For example, you can click on a button to have the text read out loud or to make the type larger.