Heath and Aging

Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging

Chapter 4: Sample Exercises

Many different exercises can improve your health and independence. Whether you do the exercises shown in this chapter or other physical activities that accomplish the same goals, gradually work your way up to include endurance, strength, balance, and stretching exercises.

people stretching on yoga mats

It's important to spend about 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your routine to warm up and cool down. Warming up and cooling down give your muscles a chance to get ready to work and gradually return to rest at the end. These "before-and-after" activities help prevent injury and reduce muscle soreness later. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Do some light endurance activity first, such as walking for 5 minutes. If you’re going to be walking briskly or running, gradually build up to that pace. At the end of your activity, gradually slow down and let your body cool down.
  • Do a few exercises to work the muscles and joints you’ll be using in your activity. For example, if you’re going to be swimming, do a few arm exercises first to warm up your arms and shoulders.
  • If you’re going to include stretching exercises as part of your routine, do them afterwards.


Publication Date: December 2016
Page Last Updated: December 21, 2016