Physical Activity and Older Adults

The information on this page is about physical activity for older adults. You can also find information on this website about physical activity for adults, physical activity at work, and physical activity for children.

Move more...

For adults aged 65 and older, Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week, such as a brisk walk or swimming, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.

It is also beneficial to add muscle- and bone-strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least two days per week. Those with poor mobility should perform physical activities like yoga and tai chi to enhance balance and prevent falls.

Move often...

Sitting or standing for long periods of time can have negative effects on your health, even if you are meeting Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Older adults should try to avoid sitting for long periods. Try to get up at least every 60 minutes and stretch or move for at least 1-3 minutes. 

It is important to be physically active and break up long periods of sitting to decrease your risk for many chronic diseases.

Benefits of being active

More physical activity provides greater health benefits. Regular movement throughout the day can:

  • Help you live healthier longer
  • Help you to maintain your independence 
  • Prevent disease and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Ease symptoms or slow the progression of chronic conditions
  • Prevent falls by helping to build muscle strength, flexibility, co-ordination and balance 
  • Help you recover faster after surgery or a fall
  • Decrease stress, relieve tension and improve memory and alertness
  • Help you feel better mentally
  • Help you feel more socially connected

Where to go to get active

Information on parks, recreation programs, facilities and services to help you keep active in Waterloo Region can be found on the physical activity page.

Related information

Physical Activity Guide for Older Adults

Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging 

National Institute on Aging (U.S.) - Exercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide 


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