Keep Your Body Fit

Keeping fit is very important as you get older because:
  • It increases your bone density and helps reduce osteoporosis
  • It reduces your chances of becoming disabled as you age
  • It increases your muscle mass and balance and reduces your risk of having falls (see video on the right)
  • It helps you become more flexible
  • It reduces depression and pain by causing your brain to release a hormone called endorphins
  • It helps prevent and control diabetes
  • It helps your heart function properly
  • It can reduce many of the physical factors associated with ageing by keeping your organs in good shape and helping your circulation.  
You should really consult with your GP before embarking on any physical activity just as a precaution - you may have certain conditions that could worsen with some types of exercise. Don't talk yourself out of it though - exercise could be a life-saver and could improve your physical and mental health. The videos on the right are especially designed for those with limited mobility and are a great way to get you started towards achieving a healthier and more mobile life. Watch them first and then try some on your own.

Four types of exercise

These 4 types of exercise are the most important, according to the National Institute on Aging:

  • Endurance. These exercises boost heart rate and breathing over a period of time. They are good for the heart, lungs and circulation. They also help prevent or delay some diseases. Examples are: walking, running, biking, swimming, dancing, or any other activity done without stopping for a period of time.

  • Strength training. Some examples are: weight training or body weight exercises such as push ups or pull ups. Lifting weights make older adults strong enough to do what they need to do – and like to do.

  • Balance. These exercises help prevent falls, a major cause of disability in older adults. Try practicing balancing on 1 foot trying to increase the length of time one is able to do it over time and then adding some movement of the eyes or hands to make it more difficult.

  • Stretching. Some examples are: flexibility exercises, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, anything that makes one try to increase the range of motion of a joint. These exercises help keep the body limber and flexible (be sure you have a sturdy chair to grab on to).

Sample exercises for each of the 4 types of exercise can be found on the National Institute on Aging's website

A winning program [from the NIA]

These tips can help you be successful at exercise:

  • Schedule your exercise time just as you do other activities. It should be a normal part of your day.
  • Start out slow and increase your pace gradually.
  • Persuade a friend to exercise with you. A friend can provide the motivation to stick with a program because you know the person is counting on you to be there.
  • To prevent boredom, vary what you do for exercise.
  • Add physical activity to your day-to-day activities, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator and parking farther from your destination to get a longer walk in.

Watch these exercise videos

Click on the arrow in the middle of the video to start it. For full instructions go to the How to Watch the Videos page 

Balance Exercise Video

Keep Fit Exercises for Seniors

Chair Exercises for Seniors

Yoga for Senior Beginners

Pilates Exercises for Seniors