No matter your age, it’s never too late to improve your fitness.

Being active throughout life is important and brings many health benefits. But as people (and even our companion pets!) get older, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever to maintaining health and independence.

There are many reasons why we tend to slow down and become more sedentary with age. Health problems, weight or pain issues, or worries about falling are logical concerns that may seem like barriers to being active. And now—as if those barriers aren’t big enough—we need to stay inside most of the day to protect ourselves and others from the risk imposed by COVID-19.

Even as we stay home, it is essential to keep moving, both for physical and emotional health. Thankfully, many tools are popping up on the internet to help people use household items to stay active and move! And despite some people’s extreme efforts, you don’t need to run a marathon in your home or climb the stairs enough times to scale Mount Everest to be getting enough exercise.

You should; however, make plans to safely keep active. The National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Aging is a trusted source of information about healthy aging. They have YouTube videos on a number of topics including exercise, research and disease prevention.

Infographic of types of exercising broken into sections of endurance, strength, balance and flexibility

If you are looking for a place to start, their adaptable 15-minute in-home exercise video, as part of their Go4Life program, can help to build strength and confidence with only a small time commitment. Other videos of varying difficulty and length can help improve balance, flexibility and strength to help in the quest of healthy aging.  

It’s important to stay safe while exercising and it’s recommended to have a conversation, by phone or telemedicine, with your primary care physician before you begin an exercise program for the very first time. Do not do anything that makes you feel afraid or uncomfortable. After all, the best way to stay active is to find something fun that you enjoy doing.

Blog written by — Karyn Hamilton, Professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science