From our very youngest days our parents encourage us to exercise. As we grow older, exercise remains extremely important even as it becomes more difficult; research shows it remains an important part of day-to-day activities.
Unfortunately, as we grow older, we’re less likely to get encouragement from a doctor to exercise and, of course, it becomes more difficult as health and mobility declines. For women 75 years and older, just more than 9% receive exercise counseling from a doctor; for men of the same age, it’s about 13%.
“Studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, or difficulty walking,” according to the National Institutes of Health Senior Health. Exercise also can help reduce stress and improve mood.
If you have a loved one who’s interested in exercising, the World Health Organization has a number of recommendations for the duration and type of exercise that’s appropriate for older adults.
Exercise is possible for older adults, even those who have difficulties with standing or moving. In our centers (see photos), for instance, we have exercise classes for older adults of all ability levels. Some stand on their own, others use the backs of chairs for support and still others participate while sitting.
Mary Tuuk, MD, an expert in medical issues facing aging adults, is chief medical officer at InnovAge
This InnovAge blog is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your health or medical needs.