As we age our bodies change. Our bodies don’t need the same types of exercise we may be used to doing, and they may not be able to do that type of movement anymore. However, no matter how old we get it is important for overall health and mobility to keep our bodies moving the best we can. It’s no secret that beginning and maintaining a lifestyle of regular exercise is difficult even for the youngest pain-free population. However, it is shown that exercise is most important for seniors. It’s never too late to start living a healthier, more active life. Even your favorite, most familiar exercises can be modified to accommodate an injury or decreasing physical ability. Many seniors exercise for balance, recovery, strength, flexibility or full range of motion. The benefits of exercise for all ages is well researched. There is a specific list of benefits for the aging population and a few of them are listed below.


  • social outlet
  • mental health
  • improve sleep
  • lower risk of disease
  • lower risk of fall
  • manage pain
  • can improve cognitive function
  • improve quality of life and independence

Seniors or the elderly population is a very broad group of people. It could include everyone ages 50-100+. The level of exercise ability in this age group is bound to be very diverse. However, even the most limited elderly can still get their bodies moving, even if it requires some help. Seniors who live in a facility like assisted living or a nursing home still have access to physical exercise. Many caretakers are trained in how to help with range of motion. It is a certification that must be passed off for certified nursing assistants. This means that even those who are confined to a bed and/or wheelchair can still retain their mobility with the help of caring and qualified staff. Most assisted living facilities offer a regular exercise program as part of their activity schedule. If this is something important to you or your loved one, make sure to shop around for a facility that offers a fun and equally beneficial physical fitness regimen. The Gables of Pocatello staff understands the benefits of exercise for their residents. In this facility, age appropriate exercise classes are offered four days a week. You can see a detailed activity calendar on their page.


Q: Will exercise increase my risk of fall and injury?

A: No. Exercise will not increase risk of fall if done correctly. You should not try to push yourself to do exercises that are out of your body's comfort and ability zone. When done regularly and correctly, exercise can significantly decrease the risk of fall and could strengthen your bones so that if you do have a fall you are less likely to suffer an injury. If you do fall and are injured, a routine of physical activity before and after will boost the recovery.

Q: What are modifications for those with joint pain?

A: The best modification for joint pain is to exercise in a pool if that option is available to you. Aquatic exercise can open doors for people who otherwise would not be able to perform physical activity. If a pool is not available, most exercises can be performed in a seated position. There are many resources available for seniors like exercise videos that demonstrate how to perform many different types of exercises seated.

Q: Where should I start?

A: Start small. The saying “no pain no gain” is one of the most untrue statements. Start where you are. A good idea for elderly who live at home is to do the things you enjoy doing and know how to do. Gardening, walking your dog, mopping the floor, or walking through the mall with friends or family are all ways to get your body moving in a natural way that will not strain or put you in danger. For those who are extremely overweight it is ideal to start in a pool or at a leisure walking pace for short distances if it can be tolerated. Overall, just start where you are and be consistent. If possible and recommended by your doctor you could increase frequency, weight, or duration.

It is imperative that you consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

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