Benefits of starting Exercise at Age 50

Benefits of starting Exercise at Age 50

Physical Activity and Leisure in Maintaining Health

RCEA 435


Physical Activity

Health for all ages

In adults it is recommended that 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise is performed 5 days per week

Alternatively 20 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise 3 days per week.

Physical Activity


Muscle strengthening exercises

Total body

One set of 8-12 reps per muscle group

One day per week








WHO Recommendation

CDC Recommended Minimum


CDC Recommended For Better Health


Aerobic Exercise

Or Cardio, is designed to elevate heart rate

Can be anything from mowing the lawn to talking a walk in the mall

As long as the person is at moderate to vigorous intensity for more than 10 minutes at a time it counts.


While there are technical definitions of light, moderate and vigorous intensity these are too complicated to use in ordinary life

So to get an idea

On a zero to ten scale where zero is sitting and 10 is working as hard as you can

Moderate is a 5 to 6

Vigorous is a 7 to 8

Vigorous is counted at twice the rate at moderate (i.e. 1 min Vigorous = 2 min Moderate)

Muscle Strengthening Exercises

Weight Training

Resistance Bands

Body weight exercises

Physical Labor (hard yard work)


Recommended to do multiple sets (2-3) rather than single sets.

Safe to Exercise?

All older adults who are not active and who want to start an exercise program should have a medical exam and ask a doctor if it is safe to exercise.

Particularly if they have 2 or more cardiovascular risk factors


Lung Disease

In some instances there are absolute and relative contraindications for exercise based upon medical diagnosis.

Absolute Contraindications

Acute MI recently

Ongoing angina

Cardiac arrhythmia


Aortic Stenosis

Decompensated Heart Failure

Pulmonary embolism

Acute Myocarditis or Pericarditis

Aortic Dissection

Physical Disability that precludes safety


Relative Contraindications


Heart Block

Hypertropic obstructive cardiomyopathy

Recent stroke or ischemic attack

Blood Pressure >200/110

Uncorrected medical conditions


Benefits of starting Exercise at Age 50


Study by the Cooper Institute

Exercise and Alzheimer’s Disease

Other Benefits


These guidelines are relevant to all healthy adults aged 65 years and above, unless specific medical conditions indicate to the contrary, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or income level. They are also relevant to individuals in this age range with chronic NCD conditions or with disabilities. Individuals with specific health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, may need to take extra precautions and seek medical advice before trying to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity for older adults.

Strong evidence demonstrates that compared to less active men and women, older adults who are physically active have:

• lower rates of coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness,

• healthier body mass and composition and enhanced bone health; and

• higher levels of functional health, a lower risk of falling, and better cognitive function.

Inactive people should start with small amounts of physical activity and gradually increase duration, frequency and intensity over time. Inactive adults and those with disease limitations will have added health benefits when they become more active.

Recommendations: In older adults of the 65 years and above age group, physical activity includes leisure time physical activity, transportation (e.g. walking or cycling), occupational (if the individual is still engaged in work), household chores, play, games, sports or planned exercise, in the context of daily, family, and community activities. The recommendations in order to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and functional health, reduce the risk of NCDs, depression and cognitive decline are:

1. Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous- intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.

2. Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.

3. For additional health benefits, older adults should increase their moderate- intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate-and vigorous-intensity activity.

4. Older adults, with poor mobility, should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.

5. Muscle-strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups, should be done on 2 or more days a week.

6. When older adults cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activity due to health conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

For further information see: or contact WHO on

65 years and above

Global Recommendations on

Physical Activity for Health

© World Health Organization 2011

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