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Can You Be Physically Active As You Get Older?

    It's never too late to start getting active. You can benefit from physical activity even if you think of yourself as "elderly" or you already have conditions such as arthritis or heart disease. Being more active will help you feel better and may even help you live longer.

    If you haven't been active for a long time, you may have no idea where to start. The important thing is to take that first step—and make that first step a small one.

    If you're an older adult and are starting activity, be sure to:

    • Start safely.Talk to your doctor before you start, and don't overdo it.
    • Keep the benefits in mind. Activity and exercise can strengthen your heart and give you more energy, make falls less likely, and help you sleep at night. It can improve blood pressure and cholesterol.
    • Know when to stop. Stop your activity if you are panting or are very short of breath or have pain in your chest. If you think you might be having a heart attack, call 911 right away. Symptoms include pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in your chest, back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.

    For more information, see:

      This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

      WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

      Last Updated: September 26, 2013
      This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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