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Am Fam Physician. 2017 Apr 1;95(7):425-432.

Exercise Prescriptions in Older Adults.

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University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Regular physical activity and exercise are important for healthy aging and are beneficial for chronic disease management. Exercise prescriptions for older adults should account for the individual's health status and functional capacity. Any amount of exercise is better than being sedentary, even if health status prevents a person from achieving recommended goals. For most health outcomes, more benefits occur with physical activity performed at higher intensity, greater frequency, or longer duration. Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities per week. Key components of the prescription include setting achievable activity goals, identifying barriers and providing potential solutions, and providing specific recommendations on the type, frequency, and intensity of activities. Older adults will derive distinct benefits from aerobic exercise, strength or resistance training, flexibility or stretching exercises, and balance training. Many community resources are available to help older adults begin a more active lifestyle.

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