The Benefits of Exercise for older adults

17 Feb, 2020

It is well known that regular exercise is essential for healthy aging and can improve our overall health and fitness and reduce the risk of chronic conditions.

Research shows that the proportion of the population that are over 65 years will increase from 6.9% to 19.3% by 2050.

As we age our physiology changes which may lead to risk factors for disease or injury.

To reduce the risk of chronic health conditions among this population group it is important to implement regular exercise.

Exercise For Older Adults

Impact of aging

Although aging is inevitable, below are a few changes that occur:

  • Decreased aerobic capacity
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Deconditioning
  • 10-30% lower maximal cardiac output
  • Maximal HR decreases
  • Loss of skeletal muscle
  • Tendons and ligaments decrease in elasticity
  • Decreased motor control
  • Reduced balance
  • Reduced bone strength

How can an Exercise Physiologist help?

Exercise Physiologists are tertiary trained allied health professionals and assist with the following:

  • Provide and in-depth physical assessment
  • Help set achievable client goals
  • Identify barriers and overcome these barriers
  • Prescribe a safe and individualised exercise program
  • Provide expert knowledge on exercise type, intensity and duration
  • Implement strategies for behaviour change

The benefits

Exercise has been proven to be one of the most effective lifestyle interventions to help improve physiological changes which occur due to aging.

Some benefits include:

  • Improve bone mass density through impact loading
  • Decrease the risk of falls
  • Improve full body strength
  • Improve mobility
  • Improve quality of life and independence
  • Improve mental health

How much and what type of exercise should you do?

The American College of Sports Medicine and Exercise and Sports Science Australia supports the current research of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity.

The exercises should incorporate the following to facilitate support independence and improve quality of life:

  • Aerobic training
  • Resistance training
  • Balance and flexibility training

Please keep in mind that each person’s medical history and current health may vary the exercise selection and therefore it is important to consult an Exercise Physiologist to set you up with an initial program.

What to do now?

If you or a friend are wanting to improve your independence, balance or strength, give us a call at Gen Physio, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All of our clinicians are mobile and come to your home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.


Beck BR, et al. Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) position statement on exercise prescription for the prevention and management of osteoporosis. J Sci Med Sport (2016),

Lee, P.G., Jackson, E.A. ,& Richardson, C.R. (2017). Exercise Prescriptions in Older Adults.

Moore, D. R. (2014). Keeping Older Muscle “Young” through Dietary Protein and Physical Activity. Advances in Nutrition5(5), 599S-607S. doi:10.3945/an.113.005405

Fry, C. S., & Rasmussen, B.B. (2011). Skeletal Muscle Protein Balance and Metabolism in the Elderly. Current Aging Science4(3), 260-268. doi:10.2174/1874609811104030260

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