Exercise for Adults Living with Chronic Health Conditions

Disclaimer: If you have a chronic health condition, first consult with a healthcare professional or physical activity specialist before starting any exercise plan.

Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it is especially important if you are an adult living with a chronic health condition such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, anxiety, depression and/or some cognitive disorders.

While you may have physical limitations or different needs than someone without chronic health conditions, there are ways you can make regular exercise part of your lifestyle. Focus on exercising to improve your quality of life rather than attaching it to weight-loss or punishment for eating something. There are always ways to modify an exercise or adjust it to meet your needs and physical ability.

Here are some exercise recommendations for adults with chronic health conditions.

Amount and Type of Exercise

You should be getting as much exercise as you can, but at the very least, adults with chronic health conditions should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week and at least two days a week of muscle-strengthening activities. If you are unable to meet these recommendations, be as active as you can to avoid inactivity. Without regular movement, the body is bound to grow weaker and deteriorate.

Focus on the Health Benefits

For many of us, exercise can feel like a chore or punishment. We dread our workout in the evening or don’t feel motivated to wake up and do it in the morning. Try changing the way you think about exercise. As you age, it will support your daily activities and independence. It will help you feel, function and sleep better. It can also help you manage your chronic conditions and lower your risk for developing others.

Diversify Your Activity

Doing the same thing all the time can get boring. To avoid falling into an exercise slump, make sure you diversify the types of activity you do. For aerobic exercise, try a mixture of walking, biking, swimming, dancing, yard work and water aerobics. For muscle-strengthening exercise, try yoga, working with hand weights, resistance bands and weight machines.

Remember, before starting any new exercise plan, first consult with a healthcare professional or physical activity specialist to ensure your safety.

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