Choose Health: Be Active: A physical activity guide for older Australians

What sort of activity should I be doing? Some ideas to keep you moving

Page last updated: March 2009

Four types of activity are needed to keep you healthy.
Try to include at least one activity from each group.

Moderate fitness activities

These activities help to keep your heart, lungs and blood vessels healthy.

You should aim to do 30 minutes of activity from this group on most days. This can be in three lots of 10 minutes or two lots of 15 minutes. If you are just starting out, as little as 10 minutes helps!
  • Brisk walking
  • Continuous swimming
  • Golf (no cart!)
  • Aerobics
  • Cycling
  • Washing the car
  • Walking the dog
  • Yard and garden work
  • Tennis
  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Mopping and vacuuming

Strength activities

These activities help your muscles and bones stay strong and make it easier for you to do daily tasks as you get older.

Make a time to do specific strength exercises two or three times a week, and build some of them into your everyday activities.
  • Weight, strength or resistance training exercises
  • Lifting and carrying (eg groceries or small children)
  • Climbing stairs (instead of taking the lift or escalator)
  • Moderate yard work (eg digging and shifting soil)
  • Calisthenics (eg push ups and sit ups)
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Flexibility activities

These activities help you to move more easily. They include gentle reaching, bending and stretching. If you stay flexible you will always be able to put on your own shoes and socks.

Try to do some form of stretching every day – even if it is only while you are watching TV (see pages 20–21).
  • Tai Chi
  • Bowls (indoor and outdoor)
  • Mopping, vacuuming
  • Stretching exercises
  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Gardening

Balancing activities

These activities will improve your balance and help to prevent falls. Make a specific time each day to do these exercises, or fit them in whenever you can – for example – while waiting for the kettle to boil

For ideas see exercises section

If you can, also try to reduce the time you spend sitting for long periods.

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