It’s Never Too Late to Start Physical Activity

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While that’s true, it doesn’t mean that getting started is easy, especially if you are an older adult. Knowing how to choose exercises and which are safe–especially if you’re dealing with multiple health conditions–can be confusing. Finances can be another concern.

The good news is there are resources to help match your preferences to appropriate activities. Whether you feel comfortable exercising in your own home or you would prefer to be out in the community, the tools described below can help you get started toward achieving AICR’s recommendation to do at least 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous, physical activity a week.


Work out at home
You don’t need to join a gym or invest in a lot of fancy equipment to meet the AICR recommendations for physical activity; you can get a complete workout with basic equipment in your own home. The National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life campaign offers a comprehensive set of resources that you can use as a guide to create a routine that works for you.

Their user-friendly website is arranged in three categories: “Get Ready”, “Get Set”, and “Go!”.
● In the “Get Ready” section, you’ll find background information about the benefits of exercise and tips to ensure your safety. It addresses how exercise fits in with several specific health conditions and provides tips on how to ensure the routine you choose is as safe as possible.
● The “Get Set” section contains tools and tips to help you find your own personal starting point, build individualized goals, and create a plan for success.
● In the “Go!” section you’ll find everything you need to create and maintain a comprehensive exercise program.

Try exercising with a group
If you’re someone who is looking for guidance from a trainer or wants to use exercise as a way to socialize and meet new people, a group setting may be a better option for you. The SilverSneakers™ program is an excellent resource.

This nationwide program is designed for people 65 or older and is available in more than 14,000 facilities. SilverSneakers™ was founded over 25 years ago with the goals of improving the physical, mental, and emotional health of older Americans. The program is free for many people because a wide range of health plans, including Medicare Advantage providers (Part C), offer coverage for the program.

As a SilverSneakers™ member, you’ll receive unlimited gym access and the choice of a wide range of fitness classes designed for every fitness and ability level, including weight training, aqua-fitness, and yoga. All classes are taught by certified instructors trained to work with older adults. SilverSneakers™ also provides online resources to educate and motivate members, and they organize regular social events for members to encourage social connection beyond the gym. Use the “Locations” feature on their website to find a program near you.

Check out AICR’s resources for physical activity for the whole family.


Author: Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy, MS, is an exercise physiologist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

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