Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults

  • Melissa J. BentonEmail author

Key Points

  • Exercise improves important outcomes for older adults, including functional status, longevity, and healthcare costs.

  • Exercise can be used to prevent, treat, or palliate chronic conditions commonly experienced by older adults, including heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, falls, and depression.

  • The greatest benefits are seen in sedentary older adults who begin a moderate-level exercise program.


Cardiovascular disease Hypertension Stroke Cancer Breast cancer Gastrointestinal cancer Prostate cancer Chronic respiratory disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Dementia Alzheimer’s disease Diabetes type 2 Depression Osteoarthritis Sarcopenia 


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  1. Exercise is Medicine. Exercise is Medicine® aims to make physical activity a standard in the healthcare system through integration of clinical healthcare provider services with evidence-based community programs, and to provide a clinical decision support system so that clinicians can provide physical activity counseling.
  2. Go4Life. Go4Life® is an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging that is designed to help older adults fit exercise and physical activity into their daily life.
  3. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The Physical Activity Guidelines provide science-based guidance to maintain or improve health through regular physical activity.
  4. Silver Sneakers. Silver Sneakers Fitness® is a Medicare eligible program that helps older adults take greater control of their health by encouraging physical activity and providing benefits such as gym memberships.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beth-El College of Nursing and Health SciencesUniversity of Colorado at Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA

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