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Physical activity has many benefits, no matter a person’s age. It can help with weight loss or management, lower the risk of heart problems, type 2 diabetes and other diseases, and improve a person’s mood and self-image. For older adults, staying active and strong can also help them maintain their independence, making it easier to perform everyday tasks, such as shopping or chores, and prevent dangerous falls and injuries. Plus, they’ll be able to keep up with their grandkids!

To help you stay active as you get older, HealthFinder.gov offers the following quick tips:

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 two-and-a-half hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activities.

  • If you weren’t physically active before, start slowly. Even five 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 two 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 (“tie chee”), a mind-body exercise that improves balance.
  • Sign up for a yoga class, or try out a yoga video at home.

For more information on staying active as you get older, consult your doctor.

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