There are many different ways that older people can be physically active. Some ideas include:
There are three main categories of physical activity types that can achieve improved health, independence and wellbeing for older people:
Sometimes physical activities incorporate just one of these types of activities, while others (such as exercise classes and Tai Chi) may incorporate elements of two or all three of these categories.
The range of health benefits achieved is likely to be greater with a mixed range of physical activity options within or between days. In addition, having a number of options or choice in the types of physical activity available can increase motivation and increase the likelihood of uptake and longer term participation in physical activity.
Try to include some indoor and outdoor physical activities. Your choice of activities will be influenced by what benefits you want to achieve, what you enjoy doing, and what options are available for you. There are some health benefits that are most commonly achieved by performing one particular category of physical activity. For example, to improve balance and reduce risk of falling, an activity needs to incorporate some balance related movements, while the effect of endurance training on reducing falls does not appear to be as strong. Therefore there may be a preference for a particular category of physical activity to achieve a particular health benefit. However, if the aim is to improve general health, a mix of physical activity from the three categories is recommended.
Some older people may need to participate in supervised physical activity (for example, supervised by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist), especially when they are starting out. Examples of older people who may benefit from supervision are those with heart problems, respiratory problems, neurological problems such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease, moderately severe arthritis, mental health issues such as dementia, as well as those with a high risk of falls.