This isn't about becoming a body builder or professional weightlifter. Strength training -- also called resistance training -- can help you stay as independent as you want. Do it to keep your muscles and bones strong and help prevent falls and fractures. It can make things like getting around easier.
Strength training is just as important as aerobics, Franklin says. It's the principle of "use it or lose it."
What to do: Start with 2-pound hand weights. Even food cans or filled water bottles will work. Try doing exercises like getting up and down from a chair while holding the weights. Giving your muscles and bones something to work against builds their strength.
Do 8 to 10 different exercises at least 2 days a week. Work up to doing each exercise 10 to 15 times in a row. Use slightly heavier weights as you get stronger and the exercises become easy.
Give your muscles 2 days between sessions to rest. For example, if you do strength training on Monday, wait until Thursday until doing it again. Try aerobic or flexibility exercises on the other days.
Work your arms, chest, back, stomach, and legs. You can talk to a personal trainer or physical therapist to learn some moves.
Tip: Resistance bands are another good choice instead of weights. They are affordable, easy to carry, and come in different levels of resistance to make it easier or harder. You can even use these bands while sitting in a chair.