Why physical activity is so important for the elderly

Why physical activity is so important for the elderly

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Effects of physical activity on the elderly

Physical activity effectively protects the health and psyche of older adults. Physically active older people suffer fewer falls and breaks and are less likely to develop various forms of cancer, dementia and depression. Ultimately, this is reflected in a reduced risk of premature death.

The latest study by Ulster University and the Institute of Public Health in Ireland found that physical activity has very strong positive effects on the health of older people. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports".

Protective effect of physical activity

Older people in particular should try to increase their level of physical activity in order to protect themselves easily and efficiently from illnesses and falls. Physically active older adults benefit from a reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer, fractures, recurrent falls, functional limitations, cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer's and depression. Physical activity also reduces the overall risk of premature death.

Participants were 60 years or older

The results of the current study come from a review of published studies that examined the relationship between physical activity and health in adults aged 60 years or older.

Other positive effects of physical activity

The researchers also found that physically active older adults have a healthier aging process, a better quality of life and improved cognitive function. These are other important reasons not to neglect sports and physical activity in old age.

Activity protects body and mind

The study clearly underscores the benefits of exercise for our physical and mental health in old age. Although the physical benefits of exercise in old age have been proven in previous studies, the new research is very important as it highlights compelling new evidence of the positive effects of physical activity on our mental health.

Stay physically active even in old age

For example, physical activity protects against depression, cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's. Many people develop such health problems, especially in old age. The study shows that maintaining physical activity is very important in order to live a long and healthy life even in old age. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Conor Cunningham, Roger O 'Sullivan, Paolo Caserotti, Mark A. Tully: Consequences of physical inactivity in older adults: A systematic review of reviews and meta-analyzes, in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports (published February 4, 2020), Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports

Video: Benefits of exercise for older adults supported by study (January 2023).