Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Public Health


Habitual exercise provides protection against fatal coronary heart disease, extends longevity, and enhances quality of life. National surveys show less physical activity in older men and women compared with middle-aged and younger persons; older women are particularly sedentary. Although there are still few longitudinal studies on exercise and physical activity in older individuals, the data support a positive relationship between physical activity and health function in older individuals. The data further show that with regular physical activity, health and fitness are maintained or even increased over time in older individuals. Studies on physical activity requirements for beneficial health effects in the elderly are reviewed and presented, and exercise recommendations for older individuals are given.

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