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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 is also true for people who are recovering from an injury. Or people who are recovering from surgery such as joint replacement or arthroscopy. Exercise has also been shown to help people of all ages. That’s because it helps to lower blood pressure, lower the risks of falls and serious injuries (such as hip or wrist fractures), and slow 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

  • Stay at a healthy weight

  • Enhance cardiovascular fitness

  • Increase HDL ("good") cholesterol levels

  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases (such as type 2 diabetes or certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer or 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 and the older adult

It’s never too late to start an exercise program. With today's medical technology and scientific advances, more men and women 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.

But exercise should be approached carefully. Exercise 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. Also, you 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 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.

Online Medical Reviewer: Buslovich, Steven, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN.
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2017
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