In the Spotlight
Five Exercises for People over 50
No matter your age, it's never too late to get fit
People over fifty don't have any limits on exercising. Age isn't an issue. It's about finding a routine. You should get 150-300 minutes per week of moderately intense physical activity. This includes lifting weights or doing push-ups. Try to get at least two days per week for basic health benefits.
We have options below that can help you add exercise or activity into your routine and in a way that works for you.
It's the move you can do virtually anywhere, anytime, and at any age. Charlie Hooker walked his way to a 150 lb weight loss. Charlie has gone from doing nothing to various outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting, and walking more than 20,000 steps per day. "I have been using an indoor peddler for a few years. Now I am purchasing a bicycle and will begin riding outside."
No matter where you are or what time it is, and regardless of your age, there's almost always a way that you can take a few, or a lot, of steps. You can do it alone or virtually with a friend, inside, outside, with music, to a video, in a park, or your yard. Your smartphone probably has an app that can help. See how the benefits of walking are limitless in MOVE! Walk.
Your core or abdominals are the muscles around your stomach or tummy muscles (the stomach is an organ and not a muscle). Strong abdominals play an important role in good posture, respiratory function, and low back health. So, score more by working your core! You can find some basic core exercises here: Strengthening Your Core.
If you prefer something more meditative or want to increase flexibility, balance, and focus, try yoga or tai chi.
John Hickman and his wife added yoga to their physical activity routine. He says, "The MOVE! team taught me proper nutrition and exercise. On the first day of class, the MOVE! Coordinator, Brooke Ward, showed us a video of a disabled Veteran doing yoga. My wife and I went home, researched it, purchased the yoga DVDs, and did yoga for three weeks. I lost almost 8 pounds. I kept it a secret! At the end of the month, I met with Brooke and showed her my results to surprise her. After that, I did yoga for another eight weeks, lost over 20 pounds, and I LOVE it!"
This can be done with equipment, household items, or body weight. If you have access to an in-home gym, there are many options for equipment. It's recommended you perform strengthening exercises at least twice a week. Make sure you target the large muscle groups each time. You can try wall push-ups, bodyweight squats, or hamstring curls with just your bodyweight to build strength. Monitor your posture to prevent injury.
For a list of strengthening exercises using a resistance band, see the Resistance Tubes and Bands MOVE! handbook. If you're going to use household items, visit the Exercise and Physical Activity page.
Pick your favorite one to do alone or with your partner! Tennis, golf, cycling, running. You name it. Anything that uses your entire body and gets your heart pumping is beneficial.
Check out Parvati Govinda's MOVE! Success Story to see how she combines daily walking with other exercises several days a week to stay healthy!
"I follow the healthy plate method and keep up with my weekly activity goals, reaching my step goal daily and doing a variety of exercises three times per week. I am generally healthier and have less pain."
You may want to challenge yourself by setting a goal and tracking it on My HealtheVet. This can help jump-start you on the right track to a more active lifestyle and better health. It also becomes part of your Personal Health Record and is available to view online or download.
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