Exercise for the aging population

Resistance exercise

The Benefits!

Exercise is good for all ages and in older adults can improve cardiovascular function, muscle strength and overall functional capacity, which has a role in maintaining independence for as long as possible².

A meta analysis by Kelly and Kelly of the efficacy of aerobic exercise found regular exercise reduced the prevalence of hypertension by 17% and reduced the risk of a stroke by 15%¹. They also found by further increasing energy expenditure by 1000 calories a week attributed to a decrease in mortality risk by 20-30%.

Exercise has been proven to increase life expectancy, having many health benefits and helping in prevention of disease or chronic conditions. Today most people are aware of the benefits of exercising,  however a recent study found only 28% of older adults received advice about physical activity and exercise. The majority only verbal advice on exercise and only 16% received specific exercise prescription and a plan¹.

What to focus on!Balance ball

When coming to selection of exercise you need to be more specific. There are 4 main components that make up a great program for older adults. They are aerobic, resistance, flexibility and balance training³.

Aerobic training: Activities such as walking, swimming, riding, jogging, step-ups, or fitness classes that get the heart rate up. Start off small and gradually increase the duration.

Resistance training: Activities such as squats, step-ups, lunges, shoulder press, chest press, arm rows and many others. Target large muscle groups and begin with light resistance and repetitions.

Flexibility/Mobility: Stretching all the major muscle group – arms, chest, back, quads, hamstrings, calf.

Balance: Tasks like standing on one foot, tandem stance, marching all help to improve balance reactions.


To get the best  out of your exercise program book an appointment to see our Exercise Physiologist. They will be able to provide a full assessment and develop a program that is going to work best for you.


¹ Improving aerobic fitness in older adults: Effects of a physician-based exercise counselling and prescription program. (Petrella et al. 2010)
² Exercise Prescription for the elderly. (Mazzeo et al. 2001)
³ Exercise for older adults (Panton et al. 2004)