Exercise is one of the most important strategies for prevention, treatment, and management of illness. Studies show that exercise offers many health benefits and that older adults can gain a lot by staying physically active. Even moderate exercise can improve the health of people who are frail or who have diseases that accompany aging. Exercising can also help people stay strong and fit enough to keep doing the things they like to do as they get older. People over the age of 65, more than any other age group, need fitness to help them maintain independence, recover from illness and reduce their risk of illness.
Older people may believe that exercise is no longer appropriate for them because they see exercising as unsafe for older people who may injure themselves. Extensive research shows that this is not true. It is never too late to get fit and the human body responds to exercise, no matter what its age. There are a number of typical changes to our bodies as we get older. The benefits of your elderly parents exercising regularly far outweigh the risks. Even elderly people with chronic illnesses can exercise safely. Exercise slows down the rate of aging and is a key factor in maintaining the ability to live independently. It has an important role in disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity.Â Age related changes as well as the benefits of exercising are summarised in the table below:
Any exercise is good and better than doing nothing. It is generally considered that any exercise programme should include three key areas: Building stamina (aerobic exercise), building strength (anaerobic training), and building suppleness (stretching). The elderly, even the frail, can find ways to exercise. Whilst they need to be conservative in the way the program is started it is particularly important to find a way to move the body, because regular exercise is such an important component of health management.