Exercise for Healthy Aging: Do these people seem familiar?

Text Size: Normal / Medium / Large
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version


Do these people seem familiar?

Meet Mary.

Mary was afraid of falling. At 69, she rarely went out anymore. When she talked about this to her doctor, her doctor checked and evaluated risk factors such as the list of medications she was taking, the activities she was worried about, the dangers in her home, her chronic and severe health issues, her mobility, her balance and her diet. Since Mary was considered to be at moderate risk, her doctor recommended a physical activity program centered on strength and balance training, and referred her to a fall prevention specialist. Mary also read the Health Canada pamphlet on fall prevention.

Improvements: Mary began a physical activity program that her physiotherapist prepared with her. In less than 12 weeks, Mary saw her muscular strength increase by 80%. She goes out every day, except under very icy conditions.

Meet Christine.

Christine thought that at her age (76), there was no point in doing exercise. When she spoke to her doctor, he explained the benefits of exercise. She learned that even fragile older people aged 90 and up can benefit from being more physically active, and that exercise contributes to ensuring autonomy and independence. For Christine, this was an important realization. She wants to continue cultivating the rose garden she is so proud of!

Improvements: Christine incorporated 30 minutes of physical activity into each day. She does three 10-minute sessions. When she wakes up, she stretches. After breakfast, she walks for 10 minutes to go and get her mail, and in the afternoons, she does strength exercises while watching her favourite show. She is now convinced that even moderate physical activity has improved her overall health. She is confident that she'll be able to go on tending her roses for a long time to come!

Meet Estelle.

Estelle suffers from Type 2 diabetes. She is 60 years old, and lives a sedentary life. During her last medical checkup, her doctor encouraged her to start exercising to improve her general level of health and reduce the side effects of her chronic illness. Physical activity prevents weight gain and glucose intolerance caused by insulin resistance.

Improvements: Estelle has worked three 30-minute sessions into her week: on Monday, she walks to work; on Wednesday, she goes swimming at the municipal pool; on Saturday, she walks with her grandchildren, with whom she's exploring a newfound interest in birdwatching. In addition, she is now using a pedometer and she regularly increases the number of steps she takes each day. Her goal is to reach 10,000 steps a day.

 Next: Before Beginning an Exercise Programme


We are pleased to house this series of FAQs supervised by Cara Tannenbaum, from the Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.

Browse Contents of Exercising for Healthy Aging: