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How much exercise should you take?

“For the most part, eating red meat frequently, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight, not exercising, not managing your stress well — that’s what’s going to make people die generally in their 50s and 60s,” said Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study and professor at the Boston University School of Medicine.

So if you are in your seventies how much exercise is reasonable?

6 Replies

The answer varies person to person - it depends what you are capable of / happy to do. I think the accepted baseline is 1 hour per day.



Brisk walking, light weights, exercises for balance and flexibility 150 minutes a week, seems reasonable as used in the study mentioned in the article above.


Well, a long term aphorism of mine has been "Exercise is always good". However, a friend of mine was playing badminton one time and badly fractured her ankle, in that case the exercise wasn't that good for her.

It is always going to be a different answer for different people. I'm 68 now, so approaching my seventies, and I still try to walk at least half an hour once a day. I wear a Fitbit, and have set my target to 8000 steps, but some days I don't make it and other days I do double or more than double that. I walk to the supermarket and carry my groceries home, except when the shopping list is likely to end up too heavy even for my rucksack and two shopping bags. I do Tai Chi once a week, except that I have missed a few weeks recently. I swim and cycle as well, except that I havn't since winter set in before Christmas (I must make time to get back to that!).

What I see in others concerns me. Some people think that walking is strolling slowly and painfully, wobbling from side to side. It isn't! Learn to walk, briskly. Weight bearing exercise is very important, to maintain bone health and strengthen muscles. Correct posture is vital, as exercise with bad posture breeds pain, and reluctance to exercise at all. So does sitting slumped for long periods (in front of television or computer).

YMMV, as they say.


Thanks for all your replies. I have recently started Nordic walking to give my left arm something to do instead of just hanging there. I usually walk about 6 miles, 3 times a week with a couple of my neighbours. I wear a fitbit and we usually try to do about 10,000 steps.

Just as I put this item up there was a piece on local TV showing a bunch of 80 year olds blasting along on their bikes, the message also being made was If you want to keep your knee joints you need good muscle all around them..

Summer is coming and I will be out in the garden but I hope to improve my fitness a bit as well. Tai Chi for balance I presume? Use it or lose it - yes I think so. YMMV?


I agree, momist, you need to walk briskly. And to improve your heart, it needs (in my view) to be steady and uninterrupted. I've done a mile and a half a day for many years and I used to run but don't now as I think it doesn't do my back a lot of good and I have fallen over before now.

At my last surgery review I was asked how much exercise I got and said I did just over 24 minutes (a mile and a half) every day at the very least and the nurse suggested that 30 minutes would be better.


Tai Chi for balance, yes, but also for strength in the legs, posture, meditation and (believe it or not) self defence. My teacher is a formidable opponent in any fight, and it is very definately a martial art, it is just rather 'hidden'. Once you 'get' Tai Chi Chuan, the idea of strength without muscle and using re-direction makes you as difficult to deflect as a heavy rotating gyroscope.

Yes, I read an article this morning about the 80yo+ long distance cyclists who have the fitness and body fat of of teenagers. My cycling is limited to shorter distances (6 miles or so) as a utilitarian version of going further afield without the car. I should do more, but other activities take my time.

YMMV - your mileage may vary, a common expression now on the internet to express the idea that my ideas may not apply to you.


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