Healthy Aging - Physical Vitality
For more information, see:
- Fitness: Making It a Habit.
- Quick Tips: Getting Active at Home.
- Quick Tips: Having Enough Energy to Stay Active.
- Fitness: Walking for Wellness.
- Fitness: Using a Pedometer or Step Counter.
After a few weeks of regular physical activity, you will
probably feel better than before. When you're ready for more, add some variety
to your activity schedule with new ways to build flexibility, aerobic fitness,
and muscle strength. Experts say to do either of these things to get and stay
- Moderate activity for at least 2� hours
a week. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a
week. Moderate activity means things like brisk walking, brisk cycling, or
ballroom dancing. But any activities-including daily chores-that raise your
heart rate can be included. You notice your heart
beating faster with this kind of activity.
- Vigorous activity for at least 1� hours a week. One way to do this is to be
active 25 minutes a day, at least 3 days a week. Vigorous activity means things
like jogging, cycling fast, or cross-country skiing. You breathe rapidly and
your heart beats much faster with this kind of activity.
It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more
throughout your day and week. You can choose to do one or both types of
If you are just starting a fitness program or if you are
age 65 or older, talk to your doctor about how often is safe for you to be
- Flexibility is
increasingly important as age-related stiffness becomes a normal part of your
daily life. A regular stretching or yoga routine can greatly improve your ease of
movement. To help prevent injury, it's important to stretch before and after
any activity that uses your joints and muscles for more than a few
minutes. For more information, see:
- Quick Tips: Improving Your Balance.
- Aerobic fitness conditions your
heart and lungs. Aerobic (oxygen-using) exercise is any activity that gets your
heart pumping faster than when you're at rest, circulating more oxygen-carrying
blood throughout your body. All kinds of daily activities can be aerobic,
ranging from housecleaning, yard work, or pushing a child on a swing to
walking, bicycling, or playing tennis.
- Muscle fitness includes building more powerful muscles and increasing how long
you can use them (endurance). Weight lifting builds stronger muscles and
strengthens bones. No matter what your age and whether you've done it before,
you can gain great benefit from strength training. As you age,
muscle fitness plays an increasingly important part in
staying at a healthy weight, because muscle is the primary cell type that uses
calories. Muscle fitness is also key to improving or preventing balance
problems, falls, and therefore bone fractures. Try to do exercises to
strengthen muscles at least two times each week.3
weight training or stair climbing on two or more days
that are not in a row. For best results, use a resistance (weight) that gives
you muscle fatigue after 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.