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. 2002 Jul;141(7):646-50, 665, 664.

[Physical Activity for the Elderly]

[Article in Hebrew]
  • PMID: 12187567

[Physical Activity for the Elderly]

[Article in Hebrew]
Rachel Marom-Klibansky et al. Harefuah. .


Prolongation of life expectancy requires inevitable care for the quality of life of the elderly. Regular physical activity has a very important role in preserving the quality of life and independence, and not only reducing illness and mortality. A better understanding of this issue should enable us to set guidelines for regular physical activity for the elderly. The reaction to regular physical activity of older adults without cardiovascular diseases is similar to the reaction of young people to regular physical activity. In men, the mechanism of cardiovascular adaptation is mainly central, while in old women it is mainly peripheral. Elderly with cardiovascular diseases suffer from oxygen consumption and cardiac output reduction, compared to healthy old people. They also enjoy the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic physical activity and gain the risk factors profile improvement. Therefore, it is recommended to include aerobic physical activity as an integrative part of the daily lifestyle. Resistance strength training in elderly of both sexes leads to similar or even higher values for muscle mass and strength compared to young people, reduces the body fat mass, body weight and helps to preserve the active tissue mass. More beneficial effects of physical activity are: an improvement of posture and physical stability, improved flexibility and mobility capacity, a better cognitive function and a lower level of depression. The beneficial effects of physical activity in the very aged and frail elderly include physiological, metabolic, psychological and functional adaptations, which can substantially contribute to the quality of life and cannot be achieved by other treatments.

Summary: Participation in a regular physical activity program is an effective and secure means to avoid and reduce the functional decline associated with aging and to improve the quality of life. The recommended exercise program is multifactorial and includes aerobic and resistance training, and exercises of balance and flexibility.

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