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  • Writer's pictureGabriela Chim

Physical activity for older adults

Older adults should do some type of physical activity every day. It can help to improve your health and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Speak to a GP first if you have not exercised for some time, or if you have medical conditions or concerns. Make sure your activity and its intensity are appropriate for your fitness.

Adults aged 65 and over should:

  • aim to be physically active every day, even if it's just light activity

  • do activities that improve strength, balance and flexibility on at least 2 days a week

  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you are already active, or a combination of both

  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity

If you've fallen or are worried about falling, doing exercises to improve your strength, balance and flexibility will help make you stronger and feel more confident on your feet. What counts as light activity?

Light activity is moving rather than sitting or lying down.

Examples of light activity include:

  • getting up to make a cup of tea

  • moving around your home

  • walking at a slow pace

  • cleaning and dusting

  • vacuuming

  • making the bed

  • standing up

What counts as moderate intensity activity?

Moderate intensity activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing.

Examples of moderate intensity activities include:

  • walking for health

  • water aerobics

  • riding a bike

  • dance for fitness

  • doubles tennis

  • pushing a lawn mower

  • hiking

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