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Stay Active As You Get Older: Quick tips

Obesity, Physical Activity

Section #1

Physical activity is good for people of all ages. Staying active can help:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer
  • Improve your strength and balance so you can prevent injuries and stay independent
  • Improve your mood
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Improve your ability to think, learn, and make decisions

Before you start...

If you have a health problem like heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, talk to your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activities.

  • If you weren't physically active before, start slowly. Even 5 minutes of physical activity has health benefits. You can build up to more over time.
  • Choose aerobic activities – activities that make your heart beat faster – like walking fast, dancing, swimming, or raking leaves.
  • Tell your doctor if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, or unplanned weight loss.

Do muscle-strengthening activities 2 days a week.

  • Try using exercise bands or lifting hand weights. You can also use bottles of water or cans of food as weights.
  • Breathe out as you lift the weight, and breathe in as you lower it. Don't hold your breath – holding your breath can cause unsafe changes in your blood pressure.

Do balance activities.

  • Practice standing on one foot (hold onto a chair if you need to at first).
  • Stand up from a sitting position.
  • Learn tai chi, a mind-body exercise that improves balance.
  • Sign up for a yoga class or try out a yoga video at home.

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