photo of senior woman walking for exercise
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The benefits of taking a brisk 30-minute stroll each day are boundless: boosted blood flow, stronger heart and bones, better sleep and mental health, and even a lower risk of dementia. Plus, there’s no special equipment needed -- just lace up your sneakers, step outside, and go.

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photo of senior men in ti chi class
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Tai Chi

Tai chi uses slow, gentle, intentional movements to ground both your body and mind. You can do tai chi anywhere, including outside. In addition to cutting stress, this “meditation in motion” can improve upper- and lower-body strength, make you more flexible, and boost your balance.

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photo of senior woman riding bicycle
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Strap on a helmet and hit the bike path to build strength, work the muscles that maintain balance, and improve your cardiovascular health. If you deal with back pain or need to reduce your risk of falls, try a recumbent bike, which uses three wheels, sits low to the ground, and has a seat you can lean against.

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photo of senior woman watering plant
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Can you dig it? The regular practice of gardening gets you out into fresh air, into nature, and moves your body enough that it can help you prevent osteoporosis and lower your risk of some diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, and heart disease.

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photo of grandfather plays basketball grandfather
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Playing With Children

Sometimes, physical activity can look like a game of catch in the front yard with a neighbor or building a snowman with your grandkids. Time with kids not only keeps your body active, it stimulates your mind, too.

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photo of senior woman playing golf
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You can walk up to 4 miles during an 18-hole game of golf. Your heart gets even more of a workout if you’re carrying clubs while you do it. Take care to stretch and use proper positioning as you swing to avoid injury.

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photo of senior man playing tennis
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Time on the tennis court helps build your cardio endurance by getting your breathing rate up in short bursts. It improves the health of your lungs, heart, and blood flow. Find someone to play with who can match your skill set, and get swinging. If you have a health condition like osteoporosis, check with your doctor first to be sure that a high-impact sport like tennis is safe for you.

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photo of senior man swimming laps in pool
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When the weather’s warm enough, laps in an outdoor pool are a great way to work on your cardio endurance while keeping the stress on your body low. You should even be able to do it safely if you’re in cardiac rehab after a heart problem. Not a swimmer? Try walking across the pool in shallow water.

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photo of senior women in water aerobics class
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Water Aerobics

A workout in water using floats for resistance takes pressure off joints while you build muscle tone. It can also improve bone health after menopause and prevent you from being disabled as your body ages.

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With a soft mat, you can enjoy yoga outdoors in the sun and fresh air. The simple stretches of yoga boost your blood flow and can ease arthritis symptoms, help your heart, improve sleep, and lower stress.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 03/03/2021 Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on March 03, 2021


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Arthritis Foundation: “12 Benefits of Walking.”

Harvard Medical School: The health benefits of tai chi,” “Golfing can be good for you if done correctly.”

Geriatric Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation: “Geriatric Cyclists: Assessing Risks, Safety, and Benefits.”

American Council on Exercise: “What’s the best piece of cardio equipment to use?”

SAGE Open Medicine: “Positive aging benefits of home and community gardening activities: Older adults report enhanced self-esteem, productive endeavours, social engagement and exercise.”

National Institute on Aging: “Fun Ways for Older Adults to Stay Physically Active.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Swimming: Joint-friendly and Good for Your Heart.”

CDC: “Health Benefits of Water-based Exercise.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “9 Benefits of Yoga.”

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on March 03, 2021

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.