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Exercise for Older Adults

Published: October 9, 2018

You’ve probably heard the phrase “use it or lose it” more than enough times throughout your life, and when it comes to exercising in our later years, it’s an important phrase to remember!

The benefits of exercise are widely accepted throughout each stage of our lives and we have all had different experiences when it comes to the types of exercise we’ve tried.

Whether you participated gymnastics as a youngster, tennis as a teenager, or perhaps joined a gym as a younger adult, the benefits of exercise can be enjoyed at all ages even if you’re simply going on long walks during retirement.

The aging process

As we age, however, our flexibility and mobility can decrease, but this doesn’t limit our ability to participate in fun and meaningful exercise.

Those who don’t exercise, often provide the excuse that “I don’t have time” or “I’m slowing down”.

Deep down we all know that we can find the time, but commonly seniors aren’t aware that there are forms of exercise for older adults that we can participate in, despite our bodies slowing down.

Physiotherapy & exercises for seniors

You’ll be pleased to know that there are many exercises you can try as you get older, and there are people who can help you find the right ones.

Physiotherapists are trained healthcare professionals who are experts in the prescription of exercise in older adults and can help you formulate a suitable exercise regime suitable to your abilities.

Prior to prescribing your exercises, physiotherapists will seek medical clearance from your local doctor or medical specialist.

When formulating an exercise plan, physiotherapists will conduct a thorough assessment taking into account medical history, physical function, and most importantly your individual goals!

The benefits of exercise in older adults include:

  • Increased strength and flexibility
  • Improved mobility and independence
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduction in pain

It’s important to remember that as with many things in life, to experience the full benefits of exercise - consistency is the key! And it’s much easier to keep motivated and consistent in your exercise when it is fun.

Common components of an exercise programs for older adults include:

Strength and conditioning training
Falls and balance exercise
Hydrotherapy / water aerobics
Tai Chi
Group classes
Sports such as lawn bowls and tennis


Activities that help you build strength and work on balance also help maintain bone density, improve your coordination, flexibility and mobility as well as reduce your risk of falling.

A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can specifically help you determine the appropriate duration, intensity and frequency of exercise required to help you achieve your goals.

So now that you know your physio or exercise phyiologist can help you find some meaningful exercise, it is up to you to “find the time!”.