Four Ways to Be Active
get all of the benefits of physical activity, try all four
types of exercise Ė 1) endurance, 2) strength, 3) balance,
and 4) flexibility.
Be sure to get at least 30
minutes of activity that makes you breathe hard on most
or all days of the week. Thatís called an
endurance activity because it builds your
energy or ďstaying power.Ē You donít have to be active
for 30 minutes all at once. Ten minutes at a time is
fine. Just make sure you are active for a total of 30
minutes most days.
How hard do you need to push yourself? If you can talk
without any trouble at all, you are not working hard
enough. If you canít talk at all, itís too hard.
Keep using your muscles.
Strength exercises build muscles. When you have
strong muscles, you can get up from a chair by yourself,
you can lift your grandchildren, and you can walk
through the park.
Keeping your muscles in shape helps prevent falls that
cause problems like broken hips. You are less likely to
fall when your leg and hip muscles are strong.
Do things to help your
balance. Try standing on one foot, then the
other. If you can, donít hold on to anything for
support. Get up from a chair without using your hands or
arms. Every now and then walk heel-to-toe. When you walk
this way, the toes of the foot in back should almost
touch the heel of the foot in front.
Stretching can help you be more flexible. Moving more
freely will make it easier for you to reach down to tie
your shoes or look over your shoulder when you back the
car out of your driveway. Stretch when your muscles are
warmed up. Donít stretch so far that it hurts.
Who Should Exercise?
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 arenít used to energetic activity. You also should check
with your doctor if you have:
a chronic disease, such as
diabetes or heart disease
any new symptom you havenít
discussed with your doctor
dizziness or shortness of breath
chest pain or the feeling that
your heart is skipping, racing, or fluttering
an infection or fever
unplanned weight loss
foot or ankle sores that wonít
a bleeding or detached retina,
eye surgery, or laser treatment
had hip surgery
Source: National Institute on Aging
Part 1: Exercise For Life
Part 2: Four Ways to Keep Active
Part 3: Safety Tips for Exercise