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Busting myths: Exercise for older Australians

Senior citizens exercising in a nursing home

When you think about what a seniors exercise class, does the above image spring to mind? This style of exercise class was based entirely on low intensity exercise and games, it wasn’t individualised to anyone’s fitness goals, needs or health status and was frankly a little demoralising for everyone involved.

Fast forward a few years and the world of research has changed how exercise now looks for the wiser generations. Research has confirmed it is safe and beneficial for the ageing population to participate in individualised moderate to hard strength and aerobic exercise.

As Exercise Physiologists, we prefer focus on functional capacity, health status and fitness goals when it comes to creating individualised exercise programs rather than focusing on outdated fears of working a patient too hard due to their age. That being said, it is important that you talk to your GP or Exercise Physiologist before commencing a new exercise program to ensure it is suitable for your current health status.

The benefits of exercising at a moderate to high intensity are significant and cover metabolic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and psychological benefits, including:

  • Decrease in cholesterol

  • Decreased blood pressure

  • Increased bone density

  • Improved mental health

  • Decreased pain and injuries

  • Lower risk of secondary health complications

  • Increased function for regular daily activities

  • Overall improvement in strength and fitness

There is no secret to tapping into these benefits, but it does take some hard work - you should be exercising at an intensity that will feel challenging and will feel like you need to take a rest after completing each set. If you feel like you could continuously do the exercise with no break, then it is too easy!

You are never ‘too old’ to start exercising and there is always some way that you can improve your fitness. Now is not the time to stop and slow down, but to take action to improve your strength, function and overall strength.

If you would like more information on which type of exercise will be most beneficial for you, or you may need help finding a way to keep active, contact us on (02)8969 6300 or


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