Why do Older People Need to Exercise?

As a physiotherapist, I often get asked this question – Why do I need to exercise? For a lot of older people, enjoying their retirement years means resting and relaxing. And fair enough to. You’ve worked hard your whole life and should enjoy your retirement, right? But what if resting all the time brings about health problems? All of a sudden you aren’t enjoying your retirement because you are unwell, or worse in hospital, or worse even still no longer with us!

So what does exercise do for our bodies, you may well ask? Well, it:

  • Reduces the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (significantly more so than 'mental activity' such as crosswords).
  • Improves balance and bone mineral density, reducing the risk of fractures.
  • Reduces the risk of falls and injuries from falls such as fractured hips and other bones.
  • Helps reduce high blood pressure.
  • Reduces your risk of heart disease.
  • Helps to control chronic pain, including arthritis.
  • Maintains mobility and delays the requirements of a walking aid as we age.
  • Maintains muscle strength for daily tasks.
  • Helps to control diabetes.
  • Helps manage stress and anxiety, improves mood and helps manage feelings of depression.
  • Helps to regulate sleep patterns.
  • Helps reduce levels of fatigue.


These are all scientific facts. Exercise is the single best intervention for reducing your risk of death, because of the many and wide-ranging health benefits that it brings about. If you are interested in maximising your health, you really should be exercising.


Stay active!

Anthony Imms

Physiotherapist and advocate for healthy ageing


Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net