Be active at any age
Exercise is for everyone—even if it’s been awhile
In life, the saying “It’s never too late” can apply to many things, including exercise.
Most people can benefit from exercise at any age. It’s one of the healthiest steps you can take. “If your activity level has waned with age, it’s never too late to give it a boost,” says Menachem Meller, MD, PhD, Section Chief of Orthopedics at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital. “There are always benefits to exercise, even if you haven’t done it in a while.”
Here’s a five-step guide to help you start moving again.
Talk with your doctor. There are exercises to improve strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. Ask your doctor about the types and amounts that are safe for you.
Go slow. It’s OK to begin with just 5 or 10 minutes of physical activity. “You can do a little more each time than you did in the last session, but you don’t want to conquer the mountain all at once,” Dr. Meller says.
Listen to your body. “If you’re working out to the point where things are really hurting, it’s probably time to stop,” Dr. Meller says. “In general, a little soreness is OK— sharp pain is not.”
Get some guidance. It may be helpful to talk to a physical therapist or to take part in a supervised program. You can turn to online resources for tips too. Try the National Institute on Aging at nia.nih.gov.
Don’t delay. “Get started today,” Dr. Meller advises. As time passes, you’re missing out on the opportunity for better physical and emotional health.