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Clinical guidelines

Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice 9th edition

5.2 Physical activity

Age 0-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70-79 > 80

Advice about moderate physical activity is recommended for all older people (A).29 In addition, vigorous physical activity offers additional benefits for those without specific contraindications such as unstable, advanced or terminal illness. For the older person, physical activity provides many benefits, as well as minimising some of the limitations of later life.30

Benefits include:

  • maintaining or improving physical function and independent living
  • improving social interactions, quality of life, sleep and reducing depression
  • building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risk of injuries from falls
  • reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and vascular disease and Alzheimer’s dementia
  • improving management of lung disease, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic conditions.

Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for older people31 are available here

Older people:

  • should do some form of physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities
  • should be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility
  • should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days
  • who have stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up to the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity
  • who continue to enjoy a lifetime of vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a manner suited to their capability into later life, provided recommended safety procedures and guidelines are adhered to.

Refer to falls risk reduction in Table 5.3.2 for more information on specific exercises.

References

  1. Nelson M, Rejeski W, Blair S, et al. Physical activity and public health in older adults: Recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39(8):1435–45.
  2. Department of Health. Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines. Canberra: DoH, 2014. Available at www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines [Accessed 21 March 2016].
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