Exercise and the older adult

As we age, exercise is essential.  The old adage “If you don’t use it, you loose it”, becomes ever more true as we age.  Why? Science suggests as we age we tend to loose muscle.  There can be a wide variety of differences in physical function for older adults, from the master athlete through to physically disabled.  The physical functions of the older adult can be assessed via muscle strength (upper and lower)/endurance; aerobic endurance, flexibility, motor ability power, speed/agility, balance, and body composition through the functions of walking, stair climbing, standing up from a chair, lifting/reaching, bending/kneeling and jogging/running or travelling at a comfortable pace, which can be a fast walk.  The general goal of exercise for older adults is to create ease within personal care, normal everyday chores, such as shopping, errands, housework, gardening, and for those that choose to remain active as long as they wish in sports and travel.

With any exercise programme it is essential that it is suitable for the individual.  With older adults it is important that they are assessed for the best fit for their needs.  The health form on the training page is for all students, and if you can say truthfully NO to the first page then you will have a wider choice of exercise.  If you say truthfully YES to any of the questions, then a further assessment via your exercise health professional, and/or may need your doctors approval of which exercises are best for any current or past health conditions.

Some key goals for older adults exercise (Spirduso, et al 2005):

  • Increase and maintain flexibility and function;
  • Minimise biological ageing;
  • Optimum weight/body mass;
  • Maximise mental health and function;
  • Prevention of disease;
  • Rehabilitation;
  • Combat frailty caused by inactivity;
  • Improve social contact.

Sharon’s aim is to be a great example of embracing the age you are with vitality and being the best YOU, you can be.  It is not about comparison, it is about having the greatest ease of movement in everyday life that is able by YOU, and choosing what is right for YOU, and your wellbeing.  Be informed, gather resources and choose what is right for YOU.  Remember with an exercise health professional, all exercises can be modified to suit your needs, and can be altered as your needs change.

If Sharon, as the exercise health professional, can assist you, just ask for a session, class, or workshop designed for your needs.


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