Over the past several decades a substantial number of studies have confirmed that there are many benefits for older adults who participate in regular physical activity.
- In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published, for the first time, official US Government Physical Activity Guidelines.
- The DHHS Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans conclude that, compared to less active persons, more active men and women have lower rates of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, breast cancer, and depression.
Fortunately, programs like Silver Sneakers® Fitness started providing feasible and enjoyable options for older adults. One of the most recent campaigns for exercise and physical activity for older adults is the National Institute on Aging's Go4Life, which was designed to help older adults "fit exercise and physical actiivty into their daily lives".
EIM seeks to add even greater value to the older adult population through:
- Assessment of current PA levels
- Stratification of at-risk populations with chronic diseases with specific attention to mobility issues
- Referral to appropriate community-based programs tailored to fit their needs and preferences
- Professional guidance that is specifically designed to work older adult populations.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has published a Position Stand on Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults which summarizes the benefits of both long-term exercise and physical activity, and shorter-duration exercise programs on the health and well-being of older adults.
In addition to these bio-medical benefits there are many other reasons older adults should be encouraged to find a way to build physical activity into their everyday lives.
- Regular physical activity can help to improve quality of life in old age.
- Physical activity can help older adults remain active and engaged within their families and communities.