Caregiver 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

  • 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 makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster- during this, you should be able to talk but not sing (e.g. walking quickly, bike riding) (3)
  • Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity makes your heart rate quite a bit and you would not be able to talk much (e.g. jogging, cross-country skiing)
  • 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, running, lifting weights (3)
  • Consult a health professional if you are unsure about the types and amounts of physical activity most appropriate for you or if you have a diagnosed medical condition (3)
  • Start to incorporate regular exercise: find the motivation; assess goals, interests and how ready you are to begin an exercise routine; have your fitness level assessed by a fitness professional; develop an exercise program and stick with it

References

1.  CSEP. (2011). Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Retrieved March 12, 2014 from:
     http://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP-InfoSheets-older%20adults-ENG.pdf

2.  Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2013). Why Exercise is Vital to Health.
     Retrieved March 12, 2014 from:
     http://www.mhp.gov.on.ca/en/active-living/exercise.asp

3.  Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012). Physical Activity Tips for Older Adults.
     Retrieved March 12, 2014 from:
     http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/08paap-eng.php