LittlePeopleLogo     Health Maintenance: Exercise


Exercise may be aerobic or anaerobic. Aerobic exercise improves your cardiovascular system, which refers to your heart and blood vessels. Anaerobic exercise improves strength and flexibility of muscles, an important goal for maintaining independent living and mobility as you age.

Aerobic exercises that increase cardiovascular fitness include:

• walking briskly

• swimming

• running

• jogging

• climbing stairs

• using a stationary bicycle

• bicycling

• vigorous dancing

• ice skating or roller skating

• aerobics, regular or low impact

• cross-country skiing

• rowing.

Exercises performed at low and moderate intensity will help you stay fit and healthy. You do not need to exercise strenuously to improve your fitness. For example, regular, moderate activity, such as three 10-minute walks a day, reduces your risk of death by disease by 60%.

Before beginning an exercise program, consider the following questions:

• What physical activities do you enjoy?

• Do you prefer group or individual activities?

• What kind of program best fits your schedule?

• Do you have any physical conditions that limit your choice of exercise program? For example, if you have arthritis, exercise is an important part of the overall treatment. Ask your doctor about ways to exercise, including range-of-motion exercises.

Warm-Up and Cool-Down Exercises

Any exercise program should include warm-up and cool-down exercises to do before and after aerobic conditioning.

Calories Burned in Various Activities

In planning your exercise, consult the following table that gives average calories burned for selected activities.

Calories Burned Per Minute Activity
2 to 2.5    Standing  
2.5 to 4  Walking 2 miles an hour
  Bicycling 5 miles an hour
4 to 5   Walking 3 miles an hour
5 to 6 Walking 4 miles an hour
6 to 7  
8 to 10  
10 to 11  


                      7 to 8   Walking 5 miles per hour

                   Tennis (singles)

                          Shoveling snow


           Bicycling 6 miles an hour        Jogging 5 miles per hour

           Badminton                                Bicycling 12 miles per hour

           Housework                                Basketball  

                     Ditch digging

           Dancing                         Jogging 6 miles per hour

           Raking leaves                            Cross country skiing

           Calisthenics                             Handball

           Tennis (doubles)                      Swimming

     Bicycling 10 miles an hour


           Shoveling dirt

           Sexual activity