Additional Exercise Guidelines for Older Adults

The following information is derived from the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

These guidelines are for adults 65 years of age and older, and focuses on exercise above and beyond what is done in the course of everyday life. These guidelines are also fitting for adults younger then 65 who have chronic conditions and those with a low level of activity. The recommended activities for older adults include aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises, and balance training to decrease the risk of falls.

Key Additional Guidelines for Older Adults (as written in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans):

  • When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
  • Older adults should do exercises that maintain or improve balance if they are at risk of falling.
  • Older adults should determine their level of effort for physical activity relative to their level of fitness.
  • Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.

Examples of Different Aerobic and Muscle-Strengthening Physical Activities (as written in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans):

Aerobic

  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics
  • Jogging
  • Aerobic exercise classes
  • Bicycle riding (stationary or on a path)
  • Some activities of gardening, such as raking and pushing a lawn mower
  • Tennis
  • Golf (without a cart)

Muscle-Strengthening

  • Exercises using exercise bands, weight machines, hand-held weights
  • Calisthenic exercises (body weight provides resistance to movement)
  • Digging, lifting, and carrying as part of gardening
  • Carrying groceries
  • Some yoga exercises
  • Some Tai chi exercises

Older adults who are inactive or who don't yet meet the guidelines should try for at least 150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes) a week of relatively moderate-intensity physical activity, with muscle-strengthening exercise occuring on 2 or 3 nonconsecutive days per week. For more information, visit The Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans.

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Last Modified Date: March 15, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.
Sources
  1. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx (Accessed 03/2013)
  2. Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. December 2010 vol. 33 no. 12 e147-e167 doi: 10.2337/dc10-9990. (Accessed 03/2013)

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