Caregiver Resources - Exercise

Physical activity plays a key role in living a healthy life. For older adults, the benefits of being physically active contribute to a long and vibrant life. Getting exercise everyday improves fitness, mobility and balance; helps maintain a healthy body; reduces the chance of a fall, injury, heart disease, stroke osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes; some cancers; and maintains an individual’s ability to complete activities independently (1) (2). Additionally, physical activity improves mental functioning and wellbeing (2)

For these reasons, older adults are encouraged to take part in a variety of safe and fun physical activities throughout the day (2). Healthy adults aged 65 years and older should do at least 2.5 hours of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, in sessions of 10 minutes or more (1).


Things to consider

  • Find an activity your loved one enjoys — look for group activities or classes in your community, or get active with them and make it a social event (1).
  • Start slowly – increase activity level by 10 minutes each session (1).
  • Aerobic activity is continuous movement that makes you feel warm, breathe harder and your heart beat faster, like pushing a lawn mower, taking a dance class or bike riding (1). During moderate aerobic activity, you should be able to talk but not sing, while vigorous-intensity aerobic activity quickens your heart rate quite a bit and you should not be able to talk much while doing these types of activities (1).
  • Add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscles groups at least twice a week (1)(2). Muscle and bone strengthening activities, like lifting weights, climbing stairs or doing yoga, keeps muscles and bones strong and improves balance and posture (1).
  • Talk to the family doctor to figure out the type and amount of physical activity appropriate for the person you care for.

References

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012). Physical activity tips for older adults (65 years and older). Retrieved from: 
    https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/migration/phac-aspc/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/assets/pdfs/08paap-eng.pdf

  2. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP). (2018). Canadian physical activity guidelines for older adults (65 years and older). Retrieved from: 
    http://csepguidelines.ca/adults-65/