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Endurance activities, often referred to as aerobic, increase your breathing and heart rates. These activities help keep you healthy, improve your fitness, and help you perform the tasks you need to do every day. Endurance exercises improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. They also can delay or prevent many diseases that are common in older adults such as diabetes, colon and breast cancers, heart disease, and others.

Physical activities that build endurance include:

  • Brisk walking or jogging
  • Yard work (mowing, raking)
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Climbing stairs or hills
  • Playing tennis or basketball

Increase your endurance or “staying power” to help keep up with your grandchildren during a trip to the park, dance to your favorite songs at a family wedding, and rake the yard and bag up leaves. Build up to at least 150 minutes of activity a week that makes you breathe hard. Try to be active throughout your day to reach this goal and avoid sitting for long periods of time.

Safety tips

  • Do a little light activity, such as easy walking, before and after your endurance activities to warm up and cool down.
  • Listen to your body: endurance activities should not cause dizziness, chest pain or pressure, or a feeling like heartburn.
  • Be sure to drink liquids when doing any activity that makes you sweat.
  • If your doctor has told you to limit your fluids, be sure to check before increasing the amount of fluid you drink while exercising.
  • If you are going to be outdoors, be aware of your surroundings.
  • Dress in layers so you can add or remove clothes as needed for hot and cold weather.
  • To prevent injuries, use safety equipment, such as a helmet when bicycling.
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