Functional Fitness Workouts for Older Adults: Special Considerations

Regular exercise and physical activity are essential for older adults to maintain their health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can improve flexibility, balance, coordination, and glucose tolerance, while reducing the risk of falls, illness, disability, and depression. It can also reduce the risk of obesity, colon and breast cancer, and atrial fibrillation. However, relatively few older adults in the United States perform the minimum amount of physical activity recommended.

This suggests that it is possible to significantly reduce health care costs by improving physical activity levels in older adults compared to any other age group. When creating a plan for functional fitness workouts for older adults, it is important to consider their individual abilities and needs. The plan should include a combination of moderate-intensity and vigorous activities, gradually increasing physical activity over time. It should also include muscle-strengthening activities two days a week, consisting of 8-12 repetitions per activity or until it is difficult to do another repetition without assistance.

Older adults with chronic illnesses or disabilities can still benefit from daily non-strenuous physical activity. Low-impact activities such as yoga and tai chi can also promote flexibility, improve balance, and increase strength. Before starting an exercise program, most older adults should undergo a pre-exercise evaluation to ensure they are healthy enough to participate in physical activity. By following these guidelines and creating an individualized plan for functional fitness workouts for older adults, it is possible to improve their health outcomes while reducing health care costs.