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Wellness involves optimizing physical, mental, and emotional health. It also involves positive thinking, physical activity, healthy diet, avoiding harmful behaviors, and regular check ups with a healthcare provider. Healthy practices can lead to disease prevention, improved function, and overall well-being. 

Physical Activity

The benefits of physical activity, especially for older adults, are remarkable! Every person, regardless of their age or ability, can reap the benefits. 

What are the benefits?

Many high quality scientific studies have consistently shown that regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and depression. In older adults specifically, exercise can reduce the risk of falls, hip fracture, age-related muscle loss, and cognitive impairment.


Furthermore, scientific evidence has consistently shown that regularly active older adults are more likely to be able to perform and maintain their daily activities independently. In fact, one study showed that moderate amounts of aerobic exercise decreased patients’ risk of functional decline by 30%. 

How much exercise do I need?

According to the American Geriatrics Society, older adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five or more days per week. If a patient is unable to perform this amount of exercise, they should do whatever they can within their abilities, and strive to avoid inactivity. In general, more physical activity at higher intensity (within safe limits) yields greater health benefits. Some physical activity is always better than none. 

What type of exercise is best?

The ideal exercise regimen for older adults is one that incorporates aerobics, strength training, and balance training. This combination of activity maximizes cardiovascular health, disease prevention, muscle strength, and helps prevent falls. 

Strength training is most effective when performed two or more nonconsecutive days per week for 20-30 minutes. Examples of strength training include using hand-held weights, weight machines, body weight exercises like crunches and pushups, and pool exercises against water resistance.

Flexibility exercises can also be incorporated to maintain range of motion and prevent stiffness.
Patients with obesity, arthritis, or balance problems can do aerobic and strength training exercises in water to get all the same benefits without strain on the joints or the risk of falls. Examples of flexibility training include stretching, gentle yoga, and pilates.

Examples of aerobic activity include walking, biking, swimming, rowing, or using machines like ellipticals. Even activities like housework, mowing the lawn, or walking to the store can be considered aerobic activity. 

Examples of balance training include backward walking, heel-to-toe walking, Tai Chi, and standing on one foot. 

Where to start

Ask your doctor about developing a personalized exercise plan best suited for you.
Where to start depends on ability, activity level, and preference. Exercise can be self-guided with walking, stretching, and strength training.


There are many websites and YouTube videos with free senior-friendly workouts. Organized exercise classes can be found at your local senior center, recreation center, or YMCA. Professionals like physical therapists, occupational therapists, and personal trainers can guide patients through safe and effective exercise routines to improve function and reduce pain. 

Safety when exercising

Avoid attempting very vigorous or challenging activities if you have been previously inactive or have injuries. Start with an easier exercise and slowly build up to more challenging ones. 
Don’t start an exercise program if you have unexplained shortness of breath, lightheadedness, chest pain, or palpitations. Talk to your doctor first. 
When in doubt, talk to your doctor, exercise specialist, or physical therapist about a safe and effective exercise regimen. 

For more information

avoiding harmful behaviors

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20 Min Exercise for Seniors, Elderly, & Older People - Seated Chair Exercise Senior Workout Routines

20 Min Exercise for Seniors, Elderly, & Older People - Seated Chair Exercise Senior Workout Routines

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Introduction To Weights For Seniors (Strength Workout For Seniors) | More Life Health

Introduction To Weights For Seniors (Strength Workout For Seniors) | More Life Health

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GREAT 20 minute exercise workout for Beginners and Seniors!!

GREAT 20 minute exercise workout for Beginners and Seniors!!

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Seated Exercises for Older Adults

Seated Exercises for Older Adults

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A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. 
Certain medical issues and preferences may affect what type of diet is best for each patient. Talk to your doctor about the right diet for you. 

As a general recommendation, Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends choosing nutrient dense foods across all food groups and limiting excess sugars, saturated fats, and salt intake. 
For more information, visit

BMI and Weight

Some older adults may carry extra weight which can increase risk of heart disease and osteoarthritis, while other adults may experience malnutrition, undernutrition, and weight loss. 

Ideal weight and BMI are different for older adults compared to younger adults. 
For adults 70 and older, a BMI of 25-29 has been shown to have the most health benefits. This is because older adults typically benefit from having some extra nutritional reserve. 


Quitting tobacco has health benefits at every age. Quitting smoking decreases risk of COPD, cancer, and heart disease. There is no safe amount of tobacco, so quitting is always the best option. 
Quitting a long term tobacco habit is difficult, so ask your doctor about strategies and/or medications that can help make quitting easier. 

For free personalized, confidential quit services, go to


Excessive alcohol use in older adults is associated with increased risk of delirium, heart failure, malnutrition, osteoporosis, falls, memory impairment, physical disability and other mental health problems. 
The American Geriatrics Society recommends older adults limit alcohol to no more than one standard drink per day. 

Alcohol should not be mixed with other sedating medications, as this greatly increases risk of harm. 
If you have questions or concerns about alcohol use, talk to your doctor. 

For a free alcohol self-screening test, visit

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