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Exercise as Part of Your Life

An elderly woman stretching

Almost anyone, at any age, can safely do some kind of exercise or physical activity. You can be active even if you have a long-term condition like heart disease, diabetes or arthritis. And almost nothing is more important to your health. Physical activity helps you feel good and look good, too. It can:

  • Help you maintain and improve physical strength and fitness.
  • Help improve your ability to do the everyday things you care about.
  • Help improve your balance.
  • Help you manage conditions like diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis (weakening of your bones).
  • Help reduce feelings of depression and improve your mood.

GETTING STARTED

Staying safe while you exercise is always important, but especially so when you’re starting a new activity or haven’t been active for a long time.

  • Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and proper shoes that provide support.
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise.
  • Make sure you stretch after you exercise.

MAKING A REALISTIC PLAN

You shouldn’t set unrealistic goals for yourself.  Make a sensible plan based on how active you are now. Try to do a variety of exercises that help with endurance, flexibility, strength and balance. And it’s good to change your exercises from day to day.

  • Duration: exercise should last at least 15 minutes, ideally 30 minutes.
  • Frequency: a minimum of twice a week, more if possible.
  • Space: large enough for outstretched arms, room to walk around a chair; floor should be flat and stable; good air flow and cool temperature; nothing on the floor to trip over.
  • Be sure to give yourself time to cool down after your workout; this will slow your breathing and your heart rate.
  • And most of all, have some fun! Exercise should be enjoyable and give you more zest for living.

About the Author

VNSNY CHOICE Editorial Team