Daily Movement Tips to Stay Active as You Age

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Mar 07, 2024

As you age, your body changes. The activities you once could do, you can no longer. However, just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t still move around and stay healthy.

There are many movements and activities older people can do as they continue to age to better their bodies and overall health. From taking the time to work out moderately, to getting some movement in through natural activities, seniors can always stay active if they’d like. 

Warm Up Your Body Before You Exercise

If you’re partaking in any type of activity or exercise where you’ll be moving your body more than normal, it’s important to warm up properly. There are a variety of ways you can warm up. Find one that works for you and your body best.

A person pushes an elderly person in a wheelchair on a path beside grass and trees.

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For example, you can take a walk to warm your entire body up. You can also stretch to loosen up your limbs. Doing little movements like ankle circles and arm swings can also be beneficial.  

Try Balance Exercises

As you get older, your balance may suffer slightly. To help with this, it’s highly beneficial to do balance exercises. These exercises see your body holding a specific position for a brief period of time, or for a few minutes.

An elderly woman holding a cane walks down a path surrounded by green bushes.

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A side “X” balance reach exercise is one of the best ways to improve your balance. To start, stand on your left leg and lean your entire body to the left. Lift your left hand high up above your head, then shift so your right foot is off the floor. Try to keep this balance, touching down when you need to, for up to two minutes before then moving to the other side.

Add Dancing to Your Daily Life

Do you love to dance? As you get older, try to do more of it. Dancing is a great way to keep your body agile, healthy, and moving. 

An older couple dancing together.

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Many seniors think that they need to only partake in gym exercises to stay healthy. This isn’t true. Instead, try to find activities that you would naturally do that move your body around. Dancing is one great example. You can also find senior citizen dance classes to go to, if you’d like.

Do Chair Exercises

If you struggle to move while standing on your feet, try partaking in chair exercises or chair yoga. This type of activity allows you to stretch your body, even when not standing.

A woman in a wheeled chair throws her arms up as an older man pushes her chair from behind her.

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One great exercise to do while in a chair is twist. While facing forward, slowly shift so that you’re twisting your torso to the right, and then to the left. Repeat until you loosen up. You can also do this exercise while standing up. It’s a great way to work out your core!

Try Muscle-Strengthening Activities

If you’re up to it, try out some muscle-strengthening activities. You can lift weights if you’d like, though lifting things like cans of food repeatedly can also be quite helpful.

An elderly woman does yoga outside in the green grass before trees and bushes.

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Using your own body weight to strengthen your overall body is also recommended. One great way to do this is by implementing squats into your weekly workout schedule. You can do standing squats or lunges by holding on to the back of a chair. You can even do a squat and twist exercise by twisting your torso as you squat. 


Do Wall Exercises

Balance while doing exercises can be problematic as you get older. To stay steady on your feet yet still move around, try doing wall exercises. These exercises often have you resting your back, or another part of your body, against the wall for stability.

An elderly woman sitting down by a wall and smiling.

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For example, try resting your back against a wall and getting into a squat formation. Once there, raise your arms slowly, sliding them up the wall. Then slowly slide them down the wall. Do this for about one minute. 


Climb Stairs

If you’d like to stay active while also strengthening your muscles, try climbing stairs on a weekly basis. Now, you don’t need to overdo this. But climbing up stairs can easily and naturally help you stay active.

A person wearing red shoes climbing blue stairs.

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Of course, if you struggle to climb stairs, you should avoid this activity. For those who have no issues with stair climbing, this activity has proven to be a helpful exercise when added to a routine.


Try Yoga or Tai Chi

As you get older, you may be less inclined to partake in intense workouts. For those looking for something calmer, try yoga or tai chi. Qi gong is another great activity.

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These activities can help you with your balance, flexibility, strength, and overall health. Plus, many community centers often offer these types of classes specifically for seniors. 


Find a Regular Activity That Helps With Movement

Finding more activities you can do in your day-to-day life — without going to a gym or class — is highly beneficial to seniors. For example, something as simple as housework can have you up and moving around, keeping your body active.

Various pots full of soil and plants.

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Gardening is another great way to get you moving and working your body in different ways. Gardening can also be a great option for those who have even limited mobility. 


Cool Down After You Exercise

Just as it’s important to warm up before you move around, it’s also necessary to cool down your body after you’re done exercising. Cooling down can ease your body from the exertion it just did.

An older man stretches while outside in front of a pond.

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Stretching is the best way to slowly, and calmly, cool your entire body down. Stretching can keep your muscles from becoming sore. It also helps with your overall balance, which is always a plus.


Pay Attention to Your Breathing

Whether you’re trying new balance movements or taking a walk, it’s essential that you take the time to pay attention to your breathing. Sometimes, when people work out or exert their bodies, they hold their breath. You don’t want to do this.

A portrait of an older woman smiling.

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Holding your breath can cause your blood pressure to change. So, regardless of what you’re doing, take the time to make sure you’re breathing deeply and accurately.