Exercise and the Aging Person

Exercise and the Older Adult

Exercise is good for people of all ages

There
are many benefits of following a regular exercise program. This is
true even for people who have joint pain, back pain, arthritis, or osteoporosis. And it’strue
for people who are recovering from an
injury
or from surgery such as joint replacement or arthroscopy. Exercise has
also been shown to help people of all
ages
by
lowering
blood pressure,
lowering
the risk
of falls and serious injuries (such as hip or wrist fractures), and
slowing
the
body’s
loss of muscle and bone mass. Exercise also helps to do the following:

  • Increase flexibility

  • Tone muscles

  • Build stronger bones

  • Improve mobility and
    balance

  • Boost self-image

  • Relieve insomnia

  • Relieve tension and
    stress

  • Offset feelings of anxiety
    and depression

  • Improve cognitive function
  • Improve balance
  • Stay at a healthy weight

  • Enhance cardiovascular
    fitness

  • Increase HDL
    (“good”)
    cholesterol levels

  • Reduce the risk of chronic
    diseases (such as type 2 diabetes
    and certain
    types of cancer, such as breast cancer
    and
    colon cancer)

  • Provide fun and enjoyment

  • Live
    a longer, healthier life

  • Reduce joint and muscle
    pain

Photo of two older folks walking through a neighborhood

Exercise
guidelines
for the older adult

It’s never too late to start an
exercise program. With
today’s
medical technology and scientific advances, more
people
are living longer. And with longer lives, people are looking for a higher quality of
life. Greater importance is placed on independent, healthy living. Exercise is a great
way to keep older people
active.

  • The
    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists the following physical activity guidelines
    for older adults:

    • Move more and sit less. Some activity during the day is
      better than
      none.
    • For significant health benefits,
      do
      at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of vigorous-intensity exercise
      a week.
    • Gain
      additional
      health benefits
      by
      doing more than 300 minutes of
      moderate-intensity
      physical activity a
      week.
    • Get
      even more health benefits by doing
      strength
      training that involves all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a
      week.

Exercise
should be approached carefully.
It
doesn’t have to be vigorous to be helpful. Even a walk around the park can be positive
for any age body and mind. And so can 30 minutes of working in the garden.
You
also
don’t
have to do 30 minutes of exercise all at one time. Research now suggests it’s just as
effective to do 3, 10-minute periods of exercise spread out over the day.

Talk with your healthcare
provider if you have an existing health
condition,
have had a recent
surgery,
or
you are just starting an exercise program. Your provider can help make sure the exercise
program that you choose is designed with your health and wellness in mind.