An Exercise Prescription for Healthy Active Aging
Our collective “population” is aging with both the number of people over the age of 65 years steadily rising and the fact that individuals are living longer lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050, the number of adults aged 80 or older will approach 400 million worldwide. In an effort to improve efficiency and ensure that the healthcare system is able to care for such growth, health promotion and prevention are key. One method to promote healthy aging and prevent morbidity and mortality associated with chronic disease is through exercise. There are multiple benefits of exercise, particularly for those in their sixth decades and beyond. Benefits of exercise include chronic illness prevention and risk reduction, preservation of quality of life, improved psychological well-being, and social benefits affecting an individual’s community. The WHO provides clear guidelines on physical activity focusing on building and maintaining core strength, balance, and flexibility and bolstering cardiovascular stamina through regular aerobic activity. Unfortunately, recommendations without adherence and execution are mute. This highlights the importance of understanding a patient’s personal perspective on exercise and individual health goals. The aging population may be faced with various challenges such as decreased access to exercise facilities (e.g., affordability, transportation) and age-appropriate programs. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the benefits of exercise, WHO recommendations on physical activity, and barriers to regular exercise in those over the age of 65 and to provide an example of an exercise program or “a prescription for healthy aging.”
KeywordsActive aging Aerobic exercise World Health Organization (WHO) Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Diastolic blood pressure
French rapid evaluation of cognitive function
Mean arterial pressure
Mini-mental status examination
National Council on Aging
Physical activity guidelines
Systolic blood pressure
Short Form Health Survey
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Trail making test
Verbal learning and memory test
World Health Organization
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