Guidelines for Active Living

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.

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. Practice balance exercises to prevent falls and be more confident in your movement.
Check out the Falls Prevention Staying On Your Feet, Home Balance & Strength Exercises.

Always remember to:

1) Start slow:  Start with short times and increase time gradually. As exercises become easier you can increase the difficulty.

2) Use Support: Have a counter, table or sturdy chair available for balance. Gradually decrease the amount of support you use as your balance and confidence improves. Consider using poles, canes, walkers to aid walking and moving.

3) Wear Appropriate Footwear: Supportive shoes/boots with a low wide heel and non-slip soles are important. Be cautious of ice at this time of year. Wear grippers to aid outdoor walking.

4) Listen to Your Body: If you feel pain or if you feel unsteady stop. Do exercises that feel safe and comfortable for you. Pace yourself and rest when needed.

5) Keep Track of Your Progress: It takes 21 times to make a habit and it takes time to build up strength, endurance and confidence. Congratulate yourself on being active.

If you are inactive now and have health conditions you may want to talk to your health care provider first.

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