How much physical activity do older adults need?

Physical Activity 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 prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.

Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.

Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely. When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

Stay active: It can make life better.

Find out how exercise can support physical and mental health from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition pdf icon[PDF-15.2MB]external icon

Move More and Sit Less

Older adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none. Older adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain some health benefits. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.

Learn more about how to measure your physical fitness level.

If you’re 65 years of age or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions, you can follow the recommendations listed below.

How much physical activity to do older adults need?

Want to learn more about important health benefits for older adults? Check out the Move Your WaySM Factsheet for Older Adultspdf iconexternal icon. [PDF-1.3MB]

For Important Health Benefits

Older adults should follow the exercises as specified in the following options. Check out this print-friendly age chart for a quick snapshot of the recommended amount of weekly activity for adults.

Example 1
Icon: Walking

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity

(e.g., brisk walking) for 150 minutes (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week)

AND

Icon: Weight Lifting

Muscle-strengthening activities

on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Example 2
Icon: Running

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

(e.g., jogging or running) for 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) every week

AND

Icon: Weight Lifting

Muscle-strengthening activities

on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Example 3
Icons: A combination of walking and running

An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

on 2 or more days a week

AND

Icon: Weight Lifting

Muscle-strengthening activities

on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

For Even Greater Health Benefits

If you go beyond 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity (60 minutes a day, 5 days a week), or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity (30 minutes a day, 5 days a week), or an equivalent combination, you’ll gain even more health benefits.

Making Physical Activity a Part of an Older Adult’s Life
Don’t worry if you’re thinking, “How can I meet the recommended physical activity levels each week?” You’ll be surprised by the variety of activitiespdf iconexternal icon you have to choose from.

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Are You Ready to be More Physically Active?

Join CDC’s Active People, Healthy Nation initiative and learn how to get started today!