Staying Motivated to Exercise: Tips for Older Adults – National Institute on Aging

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Physical activity is a great way for older adults to gain substantial health benefits and maintain independence. Try to make exercise a priority. Remember that being active is one of the most important things you can do each day to maintain and improve health. Try these tips to help you stay motivated to exercise.
Some people like to walk on a treadmill at the gym. Others find that kind of activity boring. The key to sticking with exercise is to make it interesting and enjoyable. Be creative. Do things you enjoy but pick up the pace. Do all four types of exercise — endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. The variety helps keep things interesting! Try some new activities to keep your interest alive.
You are more likely to exercise if it’s a convenient part of your day. Try exercising first thing in the morning. Combine physical activity with a task that’s already part of your day, such as walking the dog or doing household chores. If you don’t have 30 minutes to be active, look for three 10-minute periods. As you progress, add more 10-minute sessions until you hit your goal!
There are many ways to fit physical activity into your regular schedule, even while you are at work! Look for easy ways to add physical activity to your regular schedule:
Search for Move Your Way: Tips for Busy Days on YouTube for more tips on fitting more activity into your day.
Many people agree that an “exercise buddy” keeps them going.

The best way to stay motivated is to measure and celebrate your successes:
Don’t forget to build rewards into your plan. Write down something you will do for yourself when goals are achieved. Treat yourself to something special: a movie, a trip to the museum, a new audiobook, or a massage. Celebrate your successes!
It is normal to have life events and changes get in the way of staying active. However, there are ways to get yourself back on track. Remember, to get the most out of exercise and physical activity, they need to be a regular part of your life.
Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.
American Council on Exercise
888-825-3636 
receptionist@acefitness.org
www.acefitness.org
American College of Sports Medicine
317-637-9200
publicinfo@acsm.org
www.acsm.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
800-232-4636
888-232-6348 (TTY)
cdcinfo@cdc.gov
www.cdc.gov
This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.
Content reviewed: April 03, 2020

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