Clinical Care Resources - Exercise

Physical activity is a part of healthy living. Older adults who engage in physical activity live longer, healthier lives. They are more productive, and more likely to avoid illness and injury.

Why is it important

  • Weight-bearing physical activity reduces the rate of bone loss
  • Regular exercise maintains strength, flexibility, and a healthy body weight
  • Physical activities enhance balance and prevents falls (1)
  • Being active helps  people stay independent for longer and reduces stress  (3)
  • Helps prevents heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and premature death (3)

Common Causes

  • Many Canadians are unaware that physical inactivity is a risk factor for premature death, chronic disease and disability (2)
  • For most people, getting started is the hardest part of regular exercise

Key Considerations

  • Refer to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults:
  • Older adults should take part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, in sessions of 10 minutes or more (1)
  • Moderate aerobic activity examples: walking quickly, bike riding (3)
  • Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity examples: jogging, cross-country skiing
  • Older adults  should also add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscles groups at least twice a week (1)
  • Muscle and bone strengthening activities include climbing stairs, digging in the garden, yoga, Tai Chi, running, lifting weights  (3)
  • Encourage older adults to incorporate regular exercise into daily routine: help in the process of finding the motivation; assessing goals, interests and readiness; and developing an appropriate exercise program
  • Provide information on community events and programs for seniors looking to become active (e.g.
  • Monitor patients with medical conditions


1.  CSEP. (2011). Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Retrieved March 12, 2014 from:

2.  Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2013). Why Exercise is Vital to Health.
     Retrieved March 12, 2014 from:

3.  Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012). Physical Activity Tips for Older Adults.
     Retrieved March 12, 2014 from: