Meet Katelyn Saucier, a nurse in St. Joseph Hospital Emergency Department who is continuing her education to become a FNP. As part of her continuing education, she researched the benefits of regular exercise of ones health and stress. Her findings are something we all can benefit from!
Physical Activity on Health and Wellbeing for Older Adults
The older population is growing larger every year. By 2060, 1 in 4 Americans will be 65 years and older, and the number of Americans 85 years and older will triple (Troutman-Jordan, O’Brien, Blair & Pena, 2020). Getting regular exercise has been shown to have added health and wellbeing benefits, especially for older adults.
Physical activity is beneficial for weight loss and weight management and can lower your risk for disease. By staying active, the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, breast cancer, and colon cancer decreases (Grantham, 2017).
Exercise is not only good for one’s physical health but mental health as well. Studies have shown that regular exercise can improve mental health, specifically depression and anxiety (Peterson, 2017). Staying active can improve longevity and functionality in the older adult by slowing disablement and having a positive outcome on independence leading to enhanced psychological health (Troutman-Jordan, O’Brien, Blair & Pena, 2020).
The recommended amount of physical activity is 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity or 20 minutes a day of vigorous-intensity (Grantham, 2017).
Moderate-intensity actives include:
• Brisk walking 3 mph
• Bicycling 10-12 mph
• Bicycling 12-16 mph
Adding strength training a few times a week can also be beneficial. Strength training improves arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes (Peterson, 2017). Strength training can also help reduce falls and improve bone health.
The U.S Department of Health and Human Services provides physical activity guidelines for Americans.
Guidelines for Older Adults (USDHHS, 2018)
• Incorporate multicomponent activities – balance, aerobic and strength training
• Determine their level of effort for physical activity with their level of fitness
• Chronic conditions – understand how their illnesses can affect their ability to engage in physical activities
• Individuals who cannot meet the guidelines due to disease should be as physically active as possible
Grantham, S.L. (2017). Obesity and weight management. In T.M. Buttaro, J. Trybulski, P. Polgar-Bailey & J. Sandberg-Cook (5th ed), Primary care: A collaborative practice (pp. 109-125). Elsevier.
Peterson, K. (2017). Lifestyle management. In T.M. Buttaro, J. Trybulski, P. Polgar-Bailey & J. Sandberg-Cook (5th ed.), Primary care: A collaborative practice (pp. 125-145). Elsevier.
Troutman-Jordan, M., O’Brien, T., Blair, C., and Pena, T. (2020). Physical activity, cardiovascular health and mood state in older adults. Geriatric Nursing, 41(6), 846-851.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS]. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://health.gov/sites/default/files/201909/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf