Physical activity benefits people of all ages, but is it vitally important for senior citizens, especially now when gyms, tennis courts, fitness classes and other exercise environments are off-limits. The benefits are numerous, and even seniors with chronic conditions can do some forms of physical activity. (It is always a good idea to talk with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program).

The National Institute on Aging recommends seniors do 4 types of exercise regularly: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Endurance activities are aerobic and increase your heart rate and breathing rate. Strength exercises involve working your muscles, with weights, resistance bands or your own body weight. Balance can be improved through many lower-body strength exercises and intentionally challenging your balance by standing on one foot while holding onto a counter or chair, for example. Flexibility exercises are stretches, best done after other forms of exercise when muscles are warm.

Each of the 4 types of exercise confers different benefits. Plus, rotating among a variety of exercises reduces boredom. You can do a little of each type each day, or do different types on different days. Write down what you’re doing to ensure you hit all four types regularly.

Lili Schroppe