Physical activity tips for older adults (65 years and older)

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Tips to Get Active

Physical activity plays an important role in your health, well-being and quality of life. These tips will help you improve and maintain your health by being physically active every day.

  1. Take part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
  2. Spread out the activities into sessions of 10 minutes or more.
  3. It is beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week. This will help your posture and balance.

Tips to help you get active

  • Find an activity you like such as swimming or cycling.
  • Minutes count — increase your activity level 10 minutes at a time. Every little bit helps.
  • Active time can be social time — look for group activities or classes in your community, or get your family or friends to be active with you.
  • Walk wherever and whenever you can.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible.
  • Carry your groceries home.
  • Start slowly
  • Listen to your body
  • Every step counts

The Health Benefits of Being Active

  • Improve your balance
  • Reduce falls and injuries
  • Help you stay independent longer
  • Help prevent heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and premature death

Aerobic activity, like pushing a lawn mower, taking a dance class, or biking to the store, is continuous movement that makes you feel warm and breathe deeply.

Strengthening activity, like lifting weights or yoga, keeps muscles and bones strong and prevents bone loss. It will also improve your balance and posture.

What is moderate aerobic activity?

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster. You should be able to talk, but not sing.

  • Examples of moderate activity include walking quickly or bike riding.

What is vigorous aerobic activity?

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity makes your heart rate increase quite a bit and you won’t be able to say more than a few words without needing to catch your breath.

  • Examples of vigorous activity include jogging or cross-country skiing.

What are strengthening activities?

Muscle-strengthening activities build up your muscles. With bone-strengthening activities, your muscles push and pull against your bones. This helps make your bones stronger.

  • Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include climbing stairs, digging in the garden, lifting weights, push-ups and curl-ups.
  • Examples of bone-strengthening activities include yoga, walking and running.

Every step counts!

If you’re not active now, adding any amount of physical activity can bring some health benefits. Take a step in the right direction. Start now and slowly increase your physical activity to meet the recommendations.

More physical activity provides greater health benefits!
That means the more you do, the better you’ll feel. Get active and see what you can accomplish! Move more!

Is physical activity safe for everyone?

The recommended level of physical activity applies to all adults aged 65 years and older who do not have a suspected or diagnosed medical condition. Consult a health professional if you are unsure about the types and amounts of physical activity most appropriate for you.

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines were developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.

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