Do you want to learn easy ways to increase your activity level in everyday life? The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is launching its annual Go4Life Month in September. This year's theme is "Move More With Go4Life!" The program offers free resources to help older adults work out a bit more, push themselves a little harder and try all types of exercise.
"[We] brought together some of the nation’s best-informed experts on the topic of exercise for older adults, and this task force identified four types of exercise that are important for older adults — endurance, strength, balance and flexibility," NIH's Stephanie Dailey, the director of the Go4Life campaign, tells AARP. "Older adults who consistently engage in these four types of exercise can improve their health and maintain function as they age."
Benefits of the four pillars of exercise include:
- Endurance exercises work on your heart, lungs and circulatory system. They include brisk walking, running, swimming, bicycling and similar activities. Endurance exercises can help you to walk farther and to last longer when playing with your grandchildren or walking the dog.
- Strength exercises build muscles. Lifting weights, doing arm curls and leg lifts, and working with resistance bands are beneficial for climbing stairs and carrying groceries.
- Balance exercises improve your ability to control your body’s position, whether you're moving or standing still. They are important in helping prevent falls, which are very dangerous for older people, and for keeping your balance when you’re walking on uneven or slippery sidewalks.
- Flexibility exercises help keep muscles from getting stiff when you get out of bed, bend down to tie your shoes or reach up to get something from a shelf. They can improve range of motion and include different kinds of stretches, as well as yoga.
The campaign offers exercise advice and videos, as well as opportunities to share events and activities online. Go4Life Month is part of the ongoing Go4Life campaign, launched in 2011. "We hope that Go4Life Month can be a kind of catalyst, helping older adults — especially those who are sedentary or semi-sedentary — to become more active all year round," Dailey says.
More information about the program is available on the Go4Life website.