Let’s Get Active! A Seniors’ Guide to Physical Activity

seniors in an exercise class Are you an older adult? Do you want be as healthy as possible and feel your best? Then being active is one of the best ways to achieve this! Regardless of age, everyone can exercise and benefit from it, even if you have never been active before. Find out how you can get started today.

How do I start being active?

The first step to being active is to know your own body. Discuss physical activity with your health care provider first.  If you have difficulty with mobility (standing or walking), ask to see a physiotherapist or kinesiologist. He or she can design an exercise program to suit your needs and goals.

Once you get the green light to be active, try these ideas! 

  • Take a walk around the block once or a few times a day.
  • Do some easy stretches or leg lifts while watching TV.
  • Lift water bottles for some easy strength training.
  • Dance to your favourite music.

How much physical activity do I need?

Aim for 150 minutes of activity per week, more is better. That works out to about 20 minutes of activity a day. Even 10 minutes of activity at a time counts!

To get the most benefit, try to exercise to the point where you are sweating and breathing harder. Examples include walking briskly, biking or swimming.

It’s also good to add muscle and bone strengthening activities twice a week. Many activities such as brisk walking, dancing or bowling will help your bones and muscles stay strong so it’s good to try different activities.

5 ways to be active in warmer weather 

  • Swim with your grandchildren or with friends.
  • Walk to and from the grocery store. Carry reusable grocery bags and pull a grocery buggy if you can.   
  • Explore a new bike path on the weekend. Cycle with a pal.
  • Try something new like badminton, kayaking, rowing, lawn bowling or aqua fit classes.
  • Explore a new area of town, a conservation park or a lake.

5 ways to be active in colder weather

  • Find out what’s offered at your local seniors’ centre. Make new friends!
  • Pick up a sport you once enjoyed like bowling, dancing or curling.
  • Enjoy an exercise video. Many are available at your local library. 
  • Walk indoors at a local mall. Invite some friends to join you.
  • Plan an active weekend. Go for a hike or organize a city tour in the fall. 

Find out more about active living

Watch these fitness videos for seniors, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. 

Find a sport association in your own region and ways to be active within walking distance of your home, Ontario, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.  

Get physical activity tips for older adults at Health Canada’s website.

You may also be interested in

Nutri-eSCREEN – Eating Habits Survey If you are an older adult, take this short questionnaire to help you find out what you are doing well and where you can improve to stay healthy and active. If you live in British Columbia, click here to take the survey.

Last Update – January 30, 2019

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