Get Active to Celebrate Older Americans Month
Physical Activity Supports Healthy Aging
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do for their health and independence. It can help prevent, delay, or manage many of the health problems that can come with age such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Regular physical activity can also help keep thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp. It can reduce the risk of depression and may help improve sleep. Some activities such as Tai Chi can help improve balance. If you are not getting regular physical activity, this month— designated as Older Americans Month by the Department of Health and Human Services—is a perfect time to start.
How Much and What Kinds of Physical Activity Do You Need?
Someone who is 65 years of age or older and generally fit can essentially follow the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines, which state older adults need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve health—aerobic (such as walking and water aerobics) and muscle-strengthening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides recommendations, resources, and strength training information specifically designed with older adults in mind on the agency’s Web site.
When older adults are not able to meet the guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their specific abilities. A health care provider can help match physical activities to abilities. Remember, some physical activity is better than none and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. All adults should avoid inactivity.
- Find out more about physical activity and health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Growing Stronger Strength Training for Older Adults provides examples of strengthening exercises and instructions.
- Get started with information and inspiration from Go4Life, an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging.
- Learn safety tips to help avoid injury in daily living.
- Find your local Area Agency on Aging office or call (800) 677-1116 to learn about ongoing opportunities to celebrate and support older Americans.
- Find out more about the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC.