The weather is slowly getting warmer (with a few setbacks here and there) and as the snow, slush and ice recede, the great outdoors are once again looking like a good place to spend some time.
Physical activity is an important part of good physical health, strong mental well-being and overall quality of life. If you are over 65 and looking to get active this spring and summer, consider the following tips and precautions before you tie up your runners and hit the road:
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends that older adults put in at least 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week, spread out into sessions of at least 10 minutes each. This should also be complemented with strength-building exercises at least twice per week.
To get started, it is important to find an activity that you enjoy so as not to lose interest. Swimming, cycling and other similar activities allow groups to get exercise together – active time can also be social time and getting active with friends can provide additional incentive to keep going.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be planned or involve special clothing or equipment. Walk to the store or to the local café instead of taking the car on short trips. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Every little bit of physical activity helps.
Always start out slowly when you haven’t been active recently – pushing too hard when your body isn’t used to the activity can cause injuries. Listen to your body and stop when it tells you it has had enough.
Always remember that being active is an ongoing process and not an achievement. Every small bit of progress contributes to health and well-being, so don’t be in a hurry to do more than you’re capable of doing safely.
According to PHAC, older adults who have an active lifestyle enjoy improved balance, a reduction in the number and severity of falls and injuries, and a greater degree of independence.
Active living also helps to prevent heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.
For more information about active living over 65, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website at