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Feature:
Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging with Go4Life®

Go4Life Pinwheel, Endurance, Strength, Flexibility, Balance

Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH is a national exercise and physical activity campaign aimed at people over 50. The goal is to make physical activity a cornerstone of healthy aging, for a simple reason. Being physically active is vital for maintaining health and independence as we age.

Go4Life offers sample exercises to try, motivational success stories, interactive tracking, online coaches, print materials, and more to help you get ready, start exercising, and keep going.

Go to www.nia.nih.gov/Go4Life.

How Exercise Can Help You

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, in most cases you have more to lose by not being active.

Here are just a few of the benefits. Exercise and physical activity:

  • Can help maintain and improve your physical strength and fitness.
  • Can help improve your ability to do the everyday things you want to do.
  • Can help improve your balance.
  • Can help manage and improve diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
  • Can help reduce feelings of depression and may improve mood and overall well-being.
  • May improve your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.

The key word in all these benefits is YOU—how fit and active you are now and how much effort you put into being active. To gain the most benefits, enjoy all four types of exercise, stay safe while you exercise, and be sure to eat a healthy diet, too!

Go4Life® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

4 Types of Exercise

Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories—endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each type is different, though. Doing them all will give you more benefits.

Though we've described each type separately, some activities fit into more than one category. For example, many endurance activities also build strength. Strength exercises also help improve balance.

Endurance, or aerobic, activities increase your breathing and heart rate. They keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improve your overall fitness. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities.
  • Brisk walking or jogging
  • Yard work (mowing, raking, digging)
  • Dancing
Strength exercises make your muscles stronger. Even small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to stay independent and carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. These exercises also are called "strength training" or "resistance training."
  • Lifting weights
  • Using a resistance band
  • Using your own body weight

Balance exercises can help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.
  • Standing on one foot
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Tai chi

Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities.
  • Shoulder and upper arm stretch
  • Calf stretch
  • Yoga
Read More "Healthy Aging" Articles

Healthy Aging with Go4Life® / Making Smart Food Choices / What's On Your Plate?

Winter 2015 Issue: Volume 9 Number 4 Page 4-5