Exercise and the elderly: Guidelines and practical prescription applications for the clinician

Ann Yelmokas McDermott, Heather Mernitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


• Objective: To review the components of exercise prescription and approaches to developing an exercise prescription for older persons. • Methods: Case studies and qualitative review of the literature. • Results: Effective exercise programs specify the appropriate mode, intensity, duration, frequency, and progression of training. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, patients should participate in aerobic exercise 3 to 5 days per week, maintaining target heart rate for 20 to 60 minutes. Resistance training should be performed at least twice per week and should target the 7 major muscle groups. Proper technique is necessary and speed and breathing should be controlled. Incorporation of warm-up and cool-down sessions is recommended for exercisers of all ages and physical conditions. Increased lifestyle activity also should be encouraged. In prescribing exercise for older patients, nutrition must be closely monitored. The prescription needs to be individualized, taking into consideration the patient's health status, nutritional intake, abilities, preferences, and resources. • Conclusion: Physical activity should be encouraged in healthy seniors and should be considered a primary or adjunctive therapy in the treatment of chronic diseases associated with aging. Physician support of behavior changes is a major predictor of patient compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Outcomes Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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