Older adults running in the park to reap the benefits of exercising.

Types of Physical Activity

There are three main types of physical activity: aerobic, muscle-strengthening and balance. Do all three types of activity to reap the health benefits which include chronic disease prevention and reduced risk of heart disease.

Aerobic Activity

Examples of aerobic activities suitable for older adults include — brisk walking, cycling, line dancing, and ballroom dancing.

Aim for at least 10 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each time you exercise and accumulate a total of at least 150 minutes spread throughout the week.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activities will increase your breathing and heart rate so that you are still able to talk while exercising, but you are not able to sing.

Muscle Strengthening Activity

Examples of activities that strengthen muscles include — working out using gym machines, dumbbells, resistance bands and bodyweight exercises, such as wall push-ups, squats and calf raises.

Aim to do muscle-strengthening (strength training) activities two or more days a week to work on all major muscle groups in the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.

Balance exercises

Examples of balance exercises that improve balance include — tai chi, qigong, backward walking, sideways walking, heel walking, toe walking, and standing from a sitting position.

Aim to do exercises that improve balance on a few days each week.

Practical and Fun Activities for Seniors

Here are some practical and fun activities for seniors to stay physically active:

  • Daily housework
    • Mopping the floor
    • Washing the car
    • Gardening
    • Carrying
  • Active commuting
    • Brisk walking to and from the market or grocery store
    • Cycling to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station
    • Using the stairs instead of the escalator and lifts in the MRT stations

Stay on Track to Reap the Benefits of Exercising

Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  • Add variety to your physical activity — do different activities each day or each week. Choose alternative low-impact activities like swimming or water-aerobics if you have difficulties doing regular exercises.
  • If you had to take a break from your regular physical activity routine for a short while because of an illness or health condition, start again at a lower level and gradually increase to your usual level of activity.

Where to Get Help?

Talk to your family doctor or general practitioner (GP) before starting any new physical activity.

If you have any questions, call the Health Line at 1800 233 1313.

Download this guide in PDF.

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