Exercise and Older Adults

About the Course
Worldwide, an estimated 424,000 people die each year from falls; the vast majority are from low- and middle-income countries. Additionally, an estimated 37.3 million falls require medical attention. Physical and occupational therapists also play an important role in decreasing the risk of falls in the elderly population. They can effectively develop exercise programs for the aging population and for special populations with specific diseases or conditions. These prescribed programs can improve an aging person’s functional activity levels, which can be seriously impacted by a fall, causing serious health consequences. Fall-prevention strategies can help decrease the risk of falls and improve overall health and functional ability in the aging population.

Learning Objectives
  • Describe how aging affects the musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, pulmonary system, height, weight, and activity level. 
  • Discuss fall-prevention strategies for older adults and how aging increases the risk of falls. 
  • Describe how physical and occupational therapists can help to educate and treat older patients who are at risk for falls. 
  • Develop a safe and effective exercise program for the elderly population. 
  • Develop exercise programs for special patient populations, including frail older adults, with conditions that are common among older adults, such as chronic heart failure, arthritis, diabetes, sarcopenia, peripheral arterial disease, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, hypertension and obesity. 
  • Describe specific types of exercise that improve functional outcomes for older adults including strength training, balance training, PNF, Pilates, tai chi and aerobic exercise. 
  • Discuss the long-term effects of exercise in the older adult population.