Keep on Movin': Exercise After 50
- Increased stamina and energy
- Strong bones (and lower risk of osteoporosis)
- Improved muscle tone and strength
- Increased heart and lung efficiency
- Flexible joints, tendons and ligaments, which improve agility
- Improved digestive system
- Better balance (which helps to prevent falls)
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved self-esteem
- Less tension and stress
- Improved memory and alertness
Get a Checkup First
Create a Goal
- Throughout the week, aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (eg, walking briskly). In addition, do strength-training exercises to work the muscles in your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, and arms. Strength training should be done two or more times per week.
- Or, aim for 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercises (eg, jogging, running) throughout the week. Also, do the the strength-training exercises.
- Or, do a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercises, along with strength training.
- 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise along with two (or more) days of strength training
- Or, 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise and strength training
- Or, a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercises and strength-training
Do a Variety of Activities
- Find an aerobic activity you enjoy. This will help encourage you to stick with it!
- Try and find an aerobic activity that is low impact (that is, one that will not take a toll on your joints), such as brisk walking, swimming, or low-impact aerobics classes.
- Weight machines
- Free weights
- Medicine balls
- Resistance bands
- Always wear comfortable clothing and athletic shoes that fit you well. In cold weather, wear layers of clothing and protect all parts of your body. In hot and humid weather, wear clothes that breath and drink plenty of liquids before and during exercise.
- Warm-up before you exercise.
- Allow your body to cool down after aerobic exercise. For example, walk for 5-10 minutes after your routine.
- Avoid exercising if:
- There is extremely cold, hot, or humid weather.
- You have an illness or injury.
- You have just eaten a heavy meal. Exercising after eating a lot of food may cause you to have an upset stomach.
- Severe shortness of breath
- Coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Pain, pressure, discomfort or tightness in the chest
- Dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting
- Extreme perspiration
- Severe pain, cramps or muscle aches
- Extreme, prolonged exhaustion or fatigue after exercising
The American College of Sports Medicine http://acsm.org
National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov/
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology http://www.csep.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
Fitness facts for older Americans. AgeNET website. Available at: http://www.agenet.com/fit%5Ffacts%5Felder%5Faction.html .
Frankel JE, Bean JF, Frontera WR. Exercise in the elderly: research and clinical practice. Clin Geriatr Med . 2006; 22(2): 239-256; vii.
How much physical activity do older adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/olderadults.html. Updated March 30, 2011. Accessed August 22, 2011.
LaRusso L. Stretching exercises. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated May 5, 2010. Accessed July 21, 2011.
Quinn E. Eating before exercise—foods for athletic competition. Alum Rock Union website. Available at: http://childnutrition.arusd.org/data/pdf/EatingBeforeCompeting.pdf. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2011 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2011 -