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Exercise for Seniors

There is a fountain of youth. Millions have discovered it - the secret to feeling better and living longer. It's called staying active. Finding a program that works for you and sticking with it can pay big dividends. Regular exercise can prevent or delay diabetes and heart trouble. It can also reduce arthritis pain, anxiety and depression. It can help older people stay independent.

There are four main types of exercise and seniors need some of each:

Endurance activities - like walking, swimming, or riding a bike - which build "staying power" and improve the health of the heart and circulatory system

Strengthening exercises which build muscle tissue and reduce age-related muscle loss

Stretching exercises to keep the body limber and flexible

Balance exercises to reduce the chances of a fall

 information from the National Institute on Aging Website

Start Here
Exercise and Physical Activity: Getting Fit for Life(National Institute on Aging)
Also available in Spanish

Exercise for Older Adults(National Institute on Aging)


Exercise for the Elderly(American Academy of Family Physicians)
Also available in Spanish

Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging(National Institute on Aging) - Large PDF file

For the Young at Heart: Exercise Tips for Seniors(American Physical Therapy Association) - Links to PDF

JAMA Patient Page: Fitness for Older Adults(American Medical Association) - Links to PDF

Seniors and Exercise(American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Specific Conditions

Growing Stronger - Strength Training for Older Adults(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Warm Up, Cool Down and Be Flexible(American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Related Issues

Exercise and Alzheimer's: Boosts Physical and Emotional Health(Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Exercising with Arthritis: Improve Your Joint Pain and Stiffness(Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Exercising with Osteoporosis: Stay Active the Safe Way(Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

JAMA Patient Page: Frailty in Older Adults(American Medical Association)
Also available in Spanish

Young at Heart: Tips for Older Adults(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
Also available in Spanish

Health Check Tools
Target Heart Rate Calculator(American Cancer Society)


Exercise for Older Adults(National Institute on Aging)


Effects of Aging(American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)


American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institute on Aging
Also available in Spanish

President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports