Physical Activity for Older Adults

exercise for seniors

By:  Savannah Kisling, DPT

Movement is the key to remaining as independent as possible through the golden years. Physical activity can help regulate diabetes, improve cardiovascular health, and improve bone and joint health.  Exercise is also very beneficial in preventing Geriatric Frailty; a predictor of increased risk for death or illness.

Beginning in the third decade of life the body starts losing muscle mass. Though the effects of this loss are not felt until much later in life when 50% of the muscle units are lost. The good news is that you can prevent the effects of continued muscle loss into your 70’s and 80’s with purposeful exercise and activity. It is never too late to improve!

However, please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program because there are risks for those with pre-existing conditions.  In addition, consulting with a Physical Therapist will help you develop a safe and effective plan for exercising.

There are four types of exercise that are beneficial for older adults.

  1. Resistance Training
    1. Training specifically for strength in your major muscle groups. This includes weights, resistance machines, and body weight exercises. Resistance can also be provided by water such as in pool exercises.
  2. Aerobic Training
    1. Any activity utilizing repetitive movements of large muscle groups. The heart rate is raised for at least 10 minutes for the best benefit.
  3. Balance Training
    1. Exercises that strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core. These kinds of exercises can improve stability and help prevent falls.
  4. Flexibility Training/Stretching
    1. Activities that aim to stretch your muscles until they’re loosened up, and your body becomes lithe and limber. Furthermore, doing flexibility exercises regularly will provide you with more freedom of movement.

Safe and effective physical activity for older adults will greatly improve quality of life in the Golden Years.  We can help develop a plan specifically for you.  Contact us today.


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For help developing a safe fitness program, contact us.