Show menu


Older people should – main recomendation:


1.       do some form of physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities.

2.       be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.

3.       accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.

4.       who have stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.

5.       who continue to enjoy a lifetime of vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a manner suited to their capability into later life, provided recommended safety procedures and guidelines are adhered to.


 It is never too late for an older person to start participating in regular physical activity, and the benefits of doing so are wide ranging (WHO 2010).


Before beginning  regular exercise you should consult a doctor to make sure what kind of sport is suitable for you. Especially, if you have not been physically active for a long time. It is very important to find this type of sport that best suits you, the needs of your body and is enjoyable to you.

Sports particularly recommended for the elderly

1. Swimming is perfect for seniors because it builds strength and shapes the body (within 30 minutes you burn up to 350 calories) with only minimal burden on your joints, muscles and bones. Due to the power of water displacement your body weight drops sevenfold. Swimming strengthens muscles, especially of the back, arms and legs. It improves various muscle groups and so it is directly tied to improved functioning every day. Besides, if you go  swimming regularly once or twice a week, after a few weeks heart rate becomes stable and blood circulation improves optimally in the body. Aqua aerobics is also a good idea. Fitness in the pool wonderfully relieves the spine, refines muscles, the circulatory and respiratory systems.  Exercise can also be selected so as to support the rehabilitation.

2. Nordic walking - walking with poles involves up to 90% of muscles, does not burden the joints as much as normal marching and also develops strength. You do it at your own pace and the length of the walk can be altered to suit your needs. Besides, outdoor activities oxygenate the body, affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems positively. The advantage of this form of movement is that the use of the poles helps relieve the joints, which is particularly important in the case of overweight and obesity. This type of marching is safe even on uneven surfaces because it reduces the risk of falls and fractures. The form of exercise is particularly recommended for people with cardiovascular diseases.


If you do Nordic walking, remember to keep:

-                          the figure of the body straight

-                          the back straight

-                          the abdominal muscles pulled in 

-                          the elbows straight

-                          moving your arms and legs alternately

-                          hammering the pole at an angle of approx. 60 degrees

At the beginning it would be good to have classes with an instructor.


3. Gymnastics improves the elasticity of the muscles and joints, and prevents imbalance between muscle groups. Gymnastic exercise has a  very positive effect on motor skills. If you keep doing it, you can also avoid back pain or painful muscle contractions. Exercise every day for approx. 15 minutes, preferably at the same time. For seniors aerobics with music is also recommended. These are sets of specific exercises which improve the efficiency of the whole body and provide a lot of fun.

4. Cycling  has a very positive effect on the heart and helps burn excess calories. In addition, a recreational ride does not burden the joints. Already a 10-minute ride has a good effect on the cardiovascular system and improves the muscles functioning, a 20-minute ride supports the immune system, and a 50-minute one influences metabolism. Besides, cycling gives you a sense of relaxation, allows you to have a contact with nature and becomes an opportunity to make new friends and to visit new places. In the case of bad weather or other functional limitations, riding a stationary bike is recommended.

5. Boule (bowling) - it's an engrossing and competitive  sport which today is becoming increasingly popular among the elderly. It requires first of all concentration and not physical effort. Playing boules enables you to practise coordination and spend time outdoors. This game has another advantage - it can be played almost anywhere, for example in a park alley.

Recommended simple forms of daily physical activity for seniors


Marches are the simplest form of physical activity. They rely on the natural form of movement and can be practised by everyone (who can move independently). They do not require special equipment, just comfortable shoes. The march could be the first step to improve the cardio-respiratory efficiency and prepare for other activities, eg. for hiking. It can be combined with other things you do every day, such as going to a shop, the movies or friends’. As a result, without changing your schedule, you can increase your daily physical activity. The intensity of the march should be adjusted individually depending on the state of health and physical abilities.



Heart rate during exercise in most elderly people should be within the range of 100-110 s/min and should not be higher than 120 s/min

Helpful indication!

If you cannot say full sentences during marching, you exercise too hard.

If you can sing, probably you walk too slowly.

Training marching

The duration of training should be 20-60 minutes

A - at the start 15 minutes should be a warm-up

B - the next 35 minutes should be a march with the planned intensity

C - 5-10 minutes at the end of the march should involve breathing exercise, stretching and improving posture


Jogging is a form of running at a slow pace. The main aim of jogging is to improve fitness and exercise capacity without excessive effort. Jogging is considered to be running at a speed of 7 - . It is used to maintain good health. Jogging can be used as a warm-up preceding  workout or race. Jogging is effective for increasing the human lifespan and reducing the effect of aging.


Pilates is a system of exercise that includes elements of yoga, ballet and weight training. It involves a combination of exercise with a calm breath. The quality of movement is important focusing mainly on fluidity and precision and not the number of repetitions. The essence of Pilate is stretching, tensing and relaxing the muscles. Exercises aim for improving flexibility, strength, balance and awareness of your body. Doing Pilates benefits the physical and mental health, therefore it is called "well-being" training. This method is suitable for people with pain in the joints and spine and overweight ones.


Tai Chi derives from the Chinese exercise health system. It consists of seamless movements while maintaining the correct posture. The movements must be synchronized with the breath. Their aim is to strengthen the muscles and to relax them. This form of exercise is safe for the elderly, it does not require special equipment or housing conditions. In the first period of learning it, it is recommended to perform exercises under the supervision of an instructor. A particular advantage is the effect of Tai Chi exercise as they improve balance in the older age which leads to a reduced risk of falls and improves the quality of life.



-                    The type of physical activity you choose should affect the basic elements of your physical health, ie. to improve aerobic fitness (aerobic), muscle strength, flexibility, balance and coordination.

-                    It is recommended to exercise regularly (preferably daily) and to provide positive feelings (relaxation, pleasure, satisfaction).

-                    The emphasis should be placed on simple and moderately difficult forms of physical activity such as walking, marching, dancing, cycling, gymnastics, exercises on a chair or in bed, swimming and so on.

-                    The simplest forms of exercise are safe for anyone who does not have specific contraindications to exercise.


Regular physical activity recommended for the elderly includes 3 types of exercises:

1. aerobic (endurance)

2. power (resistance)

3. stretching

- Endurance exercise, such as walking, running, swimming or cycling should be performed at least twice or three times a week for at least 20-30 minutes.

- Strengthening exercise (resistance), such us push-ups, sit-ups, exercise with weights, etc. should be carried out twice a week for 20-30 minutes.

- Stretching exercise which includes gymnastics should be done approx. 10-15 minutes each day