How can older people stay physically fit?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Doing aerobics, walking, and other activities that might have been easy when you were younger may become more difficult as we age. Remaining active is important, but not always easy. However, there are things you can do, even if your activity is restricted due to arthritis, heart issues, shortness of breath, or other restrictions.

Before going into some of the activities, I want to remind you that you need to start slow if you have not been active, see your physician to be sure there are no restrictions beyond how you feel as you exercise, and don't do it if it hurts. If there is a Silver Sneakers program in your area, check it out. Yoga has been helpful for many older adults. There are DVD's available for chair exercises that include strength and stretching exercises. If standing hurts or your leg movements are restricted, chair yoga might help. Check out the Internet if you have a computer, there are examples of exercises that are safe on the Internet. Water aerobics, if they are available in your area, is a great way to exercise. If walking is not difficult, get out and walk the mall or walk around your neighborhood. Find ways to keep yourself active and moving. And remember, if it hurts, stop, rest, and then continue. Even exercising for 10 minutes at a time is beneficial.


Staying fit is about being active. As you get older, barriers to fitness start to creep in to the equation. Depending on specific restrictions, there are alternatives to help keep you active. One example would be aquatic training. Swimming and running in the water requires no impact and attacks cardio and resistance training. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.