Older Adults are actively aging!
Active Aging Is Essential To Healthy Aging
As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can lower your risk for many health problems that may come with getting older. In addition to helping your heart stay healthy, being physically active can help preserve muscle strength so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others. Engaging in physical activity significantly reduces your risk for a potentially disabling injury, such as a broken hip.
How Much Activity Do Older Adults Need?
If you are age 65 years or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions, you should be able to follow these guidelines. However, no matter what your health status is, be sure to check in with your health care provider before increasing your activity level.
- 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). OR
- 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). OR
- An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
Older adults at risk of falling should do exercises that maintain or improve their balance. For best results, they should do these exercises at least 3 days a week, using exercises specifically shown to reduce falls.
Source: CDC, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2011.
In 2012, Active Aging Week is being recognized September 23–29. Active Aging is "living as fully as possible within the dimensions of wellness (physical, spiritual, cognitive/intellectual, social, emotional, environmental, professional/vocational).
Physical Activity Can Be Tailored to Your Individual Interests and Preferences
When it comes to getting the physical activity you need each week, it's important to pick activities you enjoy and that match your abilities. This will help ensure that you continue to do them and derive the maximum health benefit of being active. If you have a disability, please check with your health care provider before engaging in something new.
- Try to do a variety of activities to make physical activity more enjoyable and reduce your risk of injury.
- Regular physical activity can still be safe and beneficial even if you have problems doing normal daily activities, such as climbing stairs or walking.
- If you have to take a break from your regular workout routine because of an illness such as the flu, be sure to start again at a lower level and slowly work back up to your usual level of activity.
To get to and stay at a healthy weight, start by doing the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Keep in mind that you may need to do more activity or reduce the number of calories you eat to get to your desired weight.
Many materials are available to help people plan physical activity into their week. For Active Aging Week 2012, the theme is MANY JOURNEYS, MANY DESTINATIONS. There are many hosts such as senior centers, retirement community settings, nature preserves, churches, dance studios, parks and recreation facilities, and health clubs that offer opportunities to get involved in Active Aging Week. Get involved!
- Page last reviewed: September 24, 2012
- Page last updated: September 24, 2012
- Content source:
- National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs