USC Gerontology


Fitness and Wellness Guide for Seniors

Fitness and Wellness Guide for Seniors

Advancements in healthcare and technology today, are in large part, major contributions from the development of modern science, which have made it possible for seniors to live longer lives today. However, this does not necessarily mean that people are healthier. In fact, despite an increase within the senior population over the last five years, Americans are considered to be among some of the unhealthiest in the world; with heart disease and cancer topping the charts of leading causes of death every year, and diabetes and obesity drastically increasing within our younger population.

Although aging is an inevitable part of life, there are several ways to maintain your health and improve your quality of life while aging. The National Institute of Aging provides significant evidence that creating a positive health and fitness routine can help to reduce chronic pain, lower depression, improve sleep, increase memory and brain function, and achieve greater mobility and independence. While this is great news, it’s important to remember that a truly healthy lifestyle includes more than just taking medications or incorporating a healthy diet, alone. In fact, there are four major areas of focus that will help seniors to achieve wellness, which include: exercise, social involvement, mental health, and nutrition.

Exercise and Aging Health

Protecting the Brain with Exercise – This article from Science Daily discusses a study done by the University of British Columbia proving that physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercise Recommended to Prevent Falls – Here, you’ll learn how exercise improves balance and reduces the chance of falling in seniors, as well as determining whether you or a loved one are at risk.

Reverse the Signs of Aging: HIIT – Learn how high-intensity interval training can reverse the signs of aging, according to science.

Senior Exercise and Fitness Tips – Discover the physical and mental health benefits of fitness and exercise for older adults, how to overcome potential obstacles, get started, and build a balanced exercise plan. Plus, tips for staying motivated.

Does Exercise Help Reverse the Effects of Aging? – Here, you’ll learn how to reverse the effects of aging internally and externally with exercise.

What is Aging? – Science Museum discusses aging in the body, brain, and genes to help give a better understanding of what our body’s aging process.

Types of Exercise

Health Benefits of Yoga for Seniors – AARP describes the benefits of practicing yoga in your 50s, 60s, and 70s and provides helpful yoga poses to start incorporating into your exercise routine today.

Walking as a Way of Life – Learn how regular low-impact exercise, like walking, can contribute to multiple health benefits for seniors including a stronger heart, increased muscle strength, weight control, and more.

Exercises to Heal Arthritis Pain and Stiffness – Mayo Clinic lists several different kinds of exercises to help ease arthritis pain and stiffness, maintain bone strength, control weight, enhance your quality of life, and more.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults – Discover the differences between moderate-intensity aerobic activity, vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, and muscle strengthening activity, plus helpful examples of how to incorporate them into your daily lives.

Exercise Programs that Promote Senior Fitness – Here, the National Council on Aging provides several healthy exercise programs to increase senior fitness levels.

Health Benefits of Tai Chi – Learn more about the benefits of the ancient Chinese martial art, Tai Chi, which involves the mind, breath work, and movement to create a calm balance of energy and improves balance and strength, reduces stress, and prevents falls in older adults.

Easy Exercises You Can Do Today – Learn 11 different exercises to incorporate into your everyday exercise routine.

Osteoporosis Exercises for Strong Bones – the National Osteoporosis Foundation shows how to help build bones and keep them strong with muscle-strengthening high-impact or low-impact weight-bearing exercises.

Strength and Balance Routines – Learn six move strong exercises to increase alignment, strength, coordination, and balance while aging.

Exercise Tips for Travelers – The National Institute of Aging at NIH provides five excellent tips to help stick to your exercise routine while traveling.


Activity Log (PDF) – The America Heart Association provides a helpful PDF document which you can print out to track your activity and fitness levels, as well as how you feel, which can help you stay motivated and promote healthy lifestyle choices.

Target Heart Rate Calculator – Here, you will find the American Cancer Society’s heart rate calculator, where you can enter your age to determine your target heart rate to ensure a great workout.

Mental Health and Wellness / Social Involvement

Keep Your Mind Sharp at Any Age – Improve memory function, prevent cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of dementia with some basic healthy habits.

Brain Fitness Techniques for Seniors – Exercise your brain regularly to maintain mental health and strength with these nine brain-energizing techniques.

Essential Health Tips for Seniors – Incorporate these ten tips to promote health and wellness in seniors to live longer and thrive.

Benefits of Social Interaction for Seniors with Dementia – According to research done by the Alzheimer’s Association, those who are engaged regularly in social interactions and activities are also better able to maintain healthy cognitive functions.

Motivate and Encourage Seniors – Psychology Today provides 5 helpful ways to keep seniors motivated and encouraged, while meeting primary and secondary needs such as independence, relevance, companionship, and security.


Nutrition for Seniors – WebMD provides five healthy foods to incorporate for healthier aging including increased body strength, a sharp mind, and higher energy levels.

Memory Boosting Foods – Strengthen memory recall and encourage increased blood flow to the brain by incorporating these memory boosting foods into your daily diet.

Master of Arts in Gerontology

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