Two older adults do a push-up together at a gym.
The oldest Baby Boomers are in their early 70s now. Regular physical activity can help alleviate the aches and pains that come with age. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

If you’re a member of the baby boom generation, don’t think you’re too old to exercise.

On the contrary, it’s especially important for you to stay active—and even more so if you have a condition that threatens mobility, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Exercise can give you more energy, help prevent chronic illnesses and keep you independent longer, according to the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

For most adults, moderate exercise, including brisk walking, is safe and easy. You don’t need special equipment—just supportive shoes—and you can walk almost anywhere. But talk to your doctor before you start, especially if you have any medical concerns or haven’t exercised in a long time.

It’s fine to begin slowly. If you want to start with walking, do it at a leisurely pace for 10 minutes at a time. As you build up your endurance, add more time and increase your speed. A good goal is to walk briskly for at least a half hour on most days of the week.

Add strength, flexibility and balance exercises into your routine. Balance exercises, like tai chi, can help prevent falls, a leading cause of injuries and hospitalizations for older people. Research shows that learning fall prevention exercises can help protect you from injury if you do happen to take a tumble.

To stay safe—and to avoid discomfort—don’t do vigorous exercise right after a big meal. Also, avoid working out in very hot or cold weather.

Stop if you feel pain in your chest or if you become dizzy or extremely short of breath. Otherwise, keep moving.

Exercise can keep you looking and feeling good as you blow out more candles on your birthday cake.