Senior Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about geriatric health.

How can older adults determine what type of exercise is best for their health?

Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy. It can help combat conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as improving sleep. Exercise may even lead to a longer life, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

Almost anyone can do some kind of exercise safely, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Talking with your doctor about your health status is a great way to make sure you’re doing exercises that are best for you.

Four Types of Exercise

There are four basic types of exercise, according to the NIH. It is good to interchange them to help reduce boredom and get the most out of your exercise routine.

The four types of exercise are as follows:

  • Endurance (aerobic) exercise – Increases your breathing and heart rate. Examples include brisk walking or jogging, vigorous yard work, dancing, swimming, biking, climbing stairs, tennis and basketball
  • Strength exercise – Makes your muscles stronger. Examples include lifting weights and using a resistance band. Can also include everyday activities, such as carrying groceries
  • Balance exercise – Helps prevent falls. Examples include standing on one foot and tai chi
  • Flexibility exercise – Stretches your muscles to keep your body limber. Examples include yoga, shoulder and upper arm stretches and calf stretches

If you’re not active at all, it’s a good idea to start slowly and build from there.

For more information about what exercises would be good for you to start with, talk to your physician.

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Source: Geetha Ambalavanan, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Suzanne Bell, MD, Vandalia Family Care; Archie Enoch, MD, Fairfield Road Physician Offices; Anoopa Hodges, MD, Oakwood Primary Care; Berry McCorkle, MD, Premier Infectious Disease; Elaine Scott, CNP, Brookville Family Care; Pamela Werner, MD, Miami Valley Primary Care