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Physical Activity Guidelines

As an older adult, living a healthy life involves ensuring that you are getting the right amount of physical activity per week. The following recommendations for exercise are given to you as a guideline based on individuals who are age 65 and over. These guidelines are taken from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), a reputable organization that is recognized as the “gold standard” for exercise prescription among most different populations. Recommendations for exercise are usually made based on frequency (how many times per week you should complete it), intensity (the recommended difficulty level), time (the amount of continuous time you should do the exercise for), and the type (ideas for movements that would be good ideas to try).

For more information on physical activity guidelines you can visit:


· The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology

· Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (page 66 to 77).

A. Aerobic Exercise

This category of exercise includes large body, rhythmic movements that are sustained for at least 10 minutes at a time. Examples of this include walking, dancing, and swimming.

Aerobic means oxygen requiring. During aerobic exercise, you may feel your heartbeat faster and the number of times you breath increase. This is a normal bodily reaction to aerobic exercise because as you move, your muscles will be demanding more oxygen.


B. Resistance Training

This form of exercise involves adding resistance in the form of body weight, bands or weights with the goal of working the muscle fibers to cause localized damage. As the muscle fibers repair, they will grow in size and number compared to before, resulting in an increase or maintenance of strength. For the resistance training to be effective, you need to make sure you are working at a high enough intensity to cause muscle change.


C. Flexibility

This form of training focuses on putting the musculotendinous structures on a stretch in a lengthened position. If done properly and for enough time, flexibility training can help with your feelings of stiffness and allow you to maintain your available range of motion in the joints you are stretching.

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