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Why Is Physical Activity Important?

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, studies show that “taking it easy” is risky. Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.

Including all 4 types of exercise can benefit a wide range of areas of your life. Staying active can help you:

Quick Tip

Being active can help prevent future falls and fractures. For tips to help prevent falls at home, read Fall-Proofing Your Home.

The YMCA offers evidence-based group exercise programs for older adults to improve fitness and balance for falls prevention.

Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Research has shown that exercise is not only good for your physical health, it also supports emotional and mental health. You can exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support. So, next time you’re feeling down, anxious, or stressed, try to get up and start moving!

Emotional benefits of exercise infographic
Read and share this infographic about the emotional benefits of exercise.

Physical activity can help:

In addition, exercise and physical activity may possibly improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.

Here are some exercise ideas to help you lift your mood:

For More Information About Exercise and Physical Activity

YMCA
800-872-9622
[email protected]
www.ymca.net

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
800-232-4636 (toll-free)
888-232-6348 (TTY/toll-free)
[email protected]
www.cdc.gov

MedlinePlus
National Library of Medicine      
www.medlineplus.gov

This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.

Content reviewed: April 03, 2020