Are You Getting Enough Physical Activity?

If you’re like many people, you may not be getting the recommended daily amount of physical activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.” And, they add: “Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all.”

The exercise recommendations for adults aged 65 and older* are: 

  • At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking (this translates to 30 minutes per day, five days a week)
  • At least two days a week of activities that strengthen muscles
  • Activities to improve balance, such as standing on one foot

*The CDC cautions that if these goals are out of reach, do what you are able. And check with your doctor first.

Of course, these days the COVID-19 pandemic has put restrictions on our activities. Throw in winter with its cold days and risk of falls, and you’ve got some major challenges to getting exercise. The good news is that there are plenty of things we can do indoors – and within our own homes – to stay fit.

Here are some ways you might be able to work toward the CDC’s goals indoors:

Moderate-intensity exercise (while masked and socially distanced): Walking, climbing stairs, dancing, and calisthenics such as squats or lunges. The good news is that all of these activities can also help strengthen your muscles.

Strengthening muscles: Push-ups (including standing push-ups against a wall), lifting hand weights or other household items, and yoga (on a mat or in a chair).

Improving balance: If you can’t stand on one foot unaided, start by holding onto the back of a sturdy chair to steady yourself while lifting one foot. You can also try marching in place or walking heel to toe, keeping one hand on a wall if you need to steady yourself.

You can find plenty of senior-oriented exercise and fitness videos online. The key is to keep your fitness activities fun so that you look forward to doing them. And it can help to schedule them into your days so they become part of your routine. If you haven’t been getting much exercise, don’t push yourself – start slow, and keep it simple and easy.

The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Speak to your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.

Categories: Aging Well, Senior Health