Exercise: How to Stay Active

Frequently Asked Questions

8. When events cause permanent changes in my life, how can I stick with exercise and physical activity?

Sometimes the unexpected happens -- family illness, caregiving responsibilities, or the death of a loved one. All of these events can permanently change your life and interrupt your physical activity routines.

During these times, it's important to remember the reasons you started exercising and the goals you created for yourself. You may want to ask family and friends to help you get back on track or talk with your trainer or doctor to get the boost you need to start again.

The sooner you resume some sort of activity, the better you'll feel and the easier it will be to get back into your routine. Feel confident that even if your activity is interrupted, you can start again and be successful. If you haven't exercised for several weeks or longer, make sure you start back at a comfortable level, and then gradually build back up. With a little time, you'll be back on track.

Here are tips to help you stay active, or start up again, when there has been a permanent change in your life.

  • If your usual exercise buddy moves away, ask another friend to go with you on your daily walk or ask other older adults where they go for walks.
  • If you move to a new community, check out the fitness centers, parks, and recreation associations in your new neighborhood. Look for activities that match your interests and abilities.
  • If you are recovering from hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor about specific exercises you can do safely once you feel better. Start slowly and gradually build up your activities as you become stronger.
  • If a spouse you are caring for has a long-term illness, ask family members to come over so you can go for a walk, or work out to an exercise video when your spouse is napping.