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How much exercise do older adults need?

If you are age 65 years or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions, you should be able to follow these guidelines. However, no matter what your health status is, be sure to check in with your health care provider before increasing your activity level.

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms); OR
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., jogging or running) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms); OR
  • An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Older adults at risk of falling should do exercises that maintain or improve their balance. For best results, they should do these exercises at least 3 days a week, using exercises specifically shown to reduce falls.

Julie DuBois, NASM Elite Trainer, RD
Administration Specialist
Older adults generally need a total of 150 minutes or 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise per week. This can be a combination of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise plus strength training.  It is important as you age to keep physically active to improve or prevent chronic health conditions.  Adding in strength training helps to increase muscle mass and decrease bone loss as you age, which is important in preventing fractures as you age.  Exercise does not have to be in long increments. Even 10 minutes at a time is better than no exercise.  Balance training and stretching are also important in preventing falls and avoiding stiffness in the joints.  Ideally, your weekly exercise routine will hit all four areas of cardiovascular exercise, strength exercise, balance training and stretching.  These forms of exercise do not need to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as walking, bodyweight exercise, balance exercises such as leg lifts (often with assistance of a rail) and simple stretches.  

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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.