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Build up gradually to stay fit later in life

May 1, 2013

Most people recognize that regular exercise is a crucial component of healthy aging, but if you've been inactive for years it may seem nearly impossible to kick-start your workout regimen. While it is challenging, getting in shape later in life is certainly not impossible, The New York Times reports. It just requires the right approach.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults 65 and older get about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, so approximately 30 minutes per day is more than enough. In fact, you don't even need to hit that 30-minute level all at once, experts say. Short bursts of walking, cycling or another form of exercise can help you work up to your desired level if you're starting from nothing.

"Thirty minutes of moderately vigorous physical activity most days is really the sweet spot in terms of time versus benefit, from an epidemiological perspective," Dr. Michael Joyner, a physiologist at the Mayo Clinic, told the Times.

Building up to 30 minutes isn't the only component of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, you also need to focus on strength training if you're looking to get fit during retirement. Much like aerobic exercise, you can start small - such as doing just a few push-ups per day - and build up to the recommended level. The CDC suggests seniors get in at least two days per week of muscle building activity.

Committing to being more physically active during retirement is certainly a smart choice. According to the National Institutes of Health, regular exercise offers a host of benefits ranging from lower instances of disease to a reduced risk of falls and fractures.