Move More, Sit Less: Senior-Friendly Ways to Be More Active

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Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to slow down. In fact, staying active as you age can improve your health, boost your mood, and help you live longer.Here’s the thing. Almost 30 percent of all adults over age 50 don’t get enough exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maybe you’re not sitting in a rocker on your porch, but if you’re not getting enough exercise, you’re putting your health and quality of life at risk.So how much exercise do you need? And what kind of exercise should you be doing?

Aim for 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That’s as easy as 21 minutes a day. And there are many ways to exercise, be more active, and strengthen your heart, lungs, bones and more:

Aerobics: Take a fitness class or watch a video and follow along. You’ll step, move your body, and raise your heart rate to burn calories. It’s easy and fun. You could also try low-impact exercise like Tai Chi or yoga.

TV-time stretching: Have some favorite shows you like to watch? Take breaks during commercials to stretch or hold a pose and watch at the same time. Stretch your upper body and lower body. Hold each stretch gently for about 30 seconds, release and repeat.

Grocery-store curls: The next time you take a trip to the grocery store or carry your food inside, turn it into a mini-workout. Curl the grocery bags to strengthen your biceps. Or lift the milk jug a few extra times.

Push-ups: You remember push-ups from high-school gym class. This is still a great full-body exercise you can do at any age. After all, at age 60 Flavio Codrin of Canada set a world record for completing 1,232 push-ups without stopping. You don’t have to do that many to be healthy. Try standard push-ups, or kneeling push-ups. For senior men, aim for 10 to 19 push-ups. For senior women, aim for 7 to 10 push-ups.

Walk. Take a 20-minute stroll through your neighborhood, local park, or track. Walk at a brisk pace. If the weather is bad, walk a couple laps inside a big box store, or go walking at the mall.

Staying active as you age will help prevent your risk of falling, breaking a bone, certain chronic diseases, and early death. Eating healthy will make a difference too. After a workout, how about a healthy meal? Check out the selection of Senior-Friendly meals here.