Exercise and aging

There are numerous benefits of staying physically active as you age

While the fastest growing population segment in the United States is the 85+ age group, only about 25% of this population is currently exercising at recommended levels. Exercise has numerous benefits as you age:

Cardiovascular Health

  • Improved overall cardiac function
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Decreased risk of hospitalization rate for congestive heart failure
  • Improved lipid levels

Diabetes Management

  • Decreased incidence of diabetes
  • Improved glycemic control
  • Improved insulin sensitivity

Bone Health

  • Decreased bone density loss
  • Decreased fracture rate
  • Improved functioning with osteoarthritis


  • Potentially decreases risk of colon, breast, prostate and rectal cancer

Other Benefits

  • Decreased fall risk
  • Improved balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved cognitive function and short-term memory
  • Decreased rate of depression
  • Decreased risk of obesity

The World Health Organization recommended activity levels for people age 65+ to achieve fitness benefits are

  • 150 min of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 min of vigorous intensity activity throughout the week
  • Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration
  • Older adults with poor mobility or balance should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week
  • Muscle strengthening activities involving major muscle groups should be done at least 2 days a week
  • When older adults cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activity due to health conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
  • It’s never too late to start exercising! Just remember to consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. A physical therapy consult may also be beneficial to learn exercises specific for your needs.

Source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercise_and_aging_can_you_walk_away_from_father_time

Article Provided by:
PT Northwest

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