Exercise in the Elderly

Why should I exercise? Research shows that regular exercise can help:

  • Maintain healthy growth
  • Prevent chronic diseases (Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart disease)
  • Make muscles stronger
  • Increase your energy
  • Decrease stress
  • Prolong independence
  • Prevent falls
  • Manage incontinence
  • Improve your memory

What kind of exercise is right for me?Health Canada recommends that people over the age of 65 years old:

  • Take part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
  • Spread out the activities into sessions of 10 minutes or more.
  • Add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week. This will help your posture and balance.

There are two main types of exercise:

  1. Aerobic exercise Continuous movement that makes you feel warm and breathe deeply. Examples: Pushing a lawn mower, taking a dance class, or biking to the store.
  2. Strengthening exercise Keeps muscles and bones strong and prevents bone loss. It will also improve your balance and posture. Examples: Lifting weights, groceries or yoga.

Top Tips to Help You Keep Active!

  • Find an activity you like such as swimming or cycling.
  • Minutes count — increase your activity level 10 minutes at a time.
  • Active time can be social time— look for group activities or classes in your community, or get your family or friends to be active with you.
  • Walk wherever and whenever you can.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible.
  • Carry your groceries home.

Top Tips to Keep You Healthy!

  • Pay attention to your body: Exercise at a level where you feel like you’re working, but it shouldn’t feel extremely hard.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings: Make sure your environment is safe and free of obstacles.
  • Warm up and cool down before exercise: It will help your body get ready for your exercise and prevent injuries.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Even when you may not feel thirsty. Staying hydrated is always important, especially on hot days.
  • Watch out for the weather: Avoid exercising in very hot or cold environments. Wear good clothing, and don’t exercise if the weather isn’t cooperating.
  • Use the proper equipment: Wear a helmet when bicycling and comfortable shoes when walking.
  • Visit your doctor regularly: Ensure your strength, mobility and balance are good, this will help prevent injuries! Ensure that your vision and hearing is good, and that your eyeglass prescription is correct.
  • Maintain a proper diet: Follow the Canadian Food Guidelines to ensure that you are meeting your goals for Calcium and Vitamin D.
  • Medications: Speak to your doctor and pharmacist about the medications that you are taking. Certain medications increase your risk of falls.
  • Wear proper footwear and clothing in your home and outdoors: Avoid long skirts, loose clothing or dangling cords.