A good way to get
started is to begin with small steps. Don't worry about
how much you exercise at first. Just focus on getting started.
Get equipped before you begin any exercise
program. You'll need sturdy comfortable shoes that provide
support. Your clothing should be comfortable, loose fitting and
made from a material that will wick sweat away from your body.
The National Institutes of Health states there are four main
types of exercise that older adults can benefit from:
- Strengthening Exercise
- Cardiovascular Exercise
- Stretching Exercise
- Balance Exercise
Strengthening exercise builds muscle
tissue and reduces age-related muscle loss. Strengthening muscles
can make everyday activities easier and it helps your bones.
Strength training is also known as weight lifting or resistance
training. There are many exercises that are safe and effective for
women and men of all ages, even if you are not in perfect health.
Strength training can help relieve many of the effects of chronic
- Arthritis - reduces pain and stiffness while increasing
strength and flexibility
- Diabetes - can improve glycemic control
- Osteoporosis - builds bone density and reduces the risk for
- Heart disease - can improve lipid profile and overall fitness
to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems
- Obesity - increases metabolism to help burn more calories and
contribute to long-term weight control
- Back pain - strengthens back and abdominal muscles to reduce
stress on the spine
Cardiovascular exercise gets your
heart pumping and blood flowing. Cardiovascular exercises are also
known as endurance training. During endurance training, your body
is in constant motion. Examples of these type of exercise include
walking, jogging, biking, swimming, tennis and other forms or
aerobic activity. You can start with as little as 5 minutes of
cardio activities at a time. As your endurance improves, add more
Stretching exercise are designed to
increase your flexibility. Freedom of movement will help you do
more of the activities you enjoy. Before you start, follow these
- Check with your health care provider to make sure these
stretching exercises are safe for you.
- Always warm up before stretching exercises by doing some easy
walking or arm-pumping first, or by doing stretching exercise after
endurance or strength exercises.
- Mild discomfort or a mild pulling sensation is normal, but
stretching should never cause pain, especially joint pain. If you
feel pain, stop at once and consult your health care provider.
- Never bounce into a stretch -- make slow, steady movements to
help your muscles stretch naturally.
Balance exercise can improve lower
body strength. Being better balance also means reducing the risk of
falls. Here are five simple ways to practice better balancing:
- If you lift weights and use machines, sit away from the pad to
work on those torso stabilizers.
- Get an exercise ball. You can also simply sit on it while you
watch television, speak on the phone or work on the computer.
You'll work on your balance and burn a few more calories.
- Incorporate simple balancing moves into your daily activities.
While you're standing in line at the grocery store, try to balance
on one leg for as long as you can. To make it harder, close your
- Walk with a book on your head. It'll improve your balance and
- Consider taking yoga classes if you are able. Yoga can increase
your balance, stability, flexibility and muscular endurance.