Information for older people

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Why is staying active important?

Regular physical activity and exercise are vital for older people. They help maintain fitness, strength and balance, and can improve thinking and mood. This assists older people in maintaining their ability to do daily activities and live independently.

Public health guidelines recommend all older people should be active every day.

Any movement is better than none!

There are extra benefits from activities that promote strength, balance, fitness and flexibility. Choose an activity you enjoy; start slowly and gradually build up. Similar recommendations apply to people of any age, including those with health conditions or walking problems.

Physiotherapists from around Australia developed the Safe Exercise at Home website and booklet, which provide advice on exercises you can do at home. These physiotherapists are experts in exercise and physical activity for older people and people with health problems.

The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health ran a webinar at the end of 2021 about Staying active during and after lockdown. This webinar focused on helping older people and people with physical disabilities get active. You can view the webinar recording and individual videos for free here.

​The Safe Exercise at Home website and booklet provides information on ways to stay active at three levels of function and fitness. If you are not sure which level best suits you, start at the easiest level (Level 1) and work your way up. There is also information about how hard you should work when exercising and tips to keep you motivated. Remember that if you need assistance, a physiotherapist can help you decide how to start exercising safely.

Please note: this website is not intended to replace individual health professional care

If you have any concerns or questions about what you can safely do, you should seek
professional advice from your doctor, physiotherapist, or other health professional with
expertise in exercise prescription.

Level 1
Foundation

Suits those who:

  • feel unsteady turning or reaching out

  • walk slowly

  • use a walking aid

  • have medical conditions that limit activity

  • get assistance with housework and other activities such as shopping

Level 2
Moderate

 

Suits those who:

  • have a well-controlled medical condition

  • get puffed easily or feel a little unsteady

  • can walk down the street

  • get minimal help with daily activities

Level 3
Advanced

Suits those who:

  • regularly walk (at least 30 minutes in one session)

  • feel steady walking outside

  • may attend a gym

  • engage in activities such as gardening