It's very important that older adults exercise because it is the best demonstrated way to maintain good health, fitness, and independence. It maintains capacity based on strength, on aerobic activity, defends against a lot of diseases and in many ways is the best prescription we have for healthy, successful aging.
Different aspects of physical functioning are important and equally important. Upper body strength involves a number of muscle groups -- arms, shoulders, back, chest, and neck. And there are isolating exercises for each of them.
Lower body strength involves exercises for legs. Again they are exercises that work the opposing muscles of the upper leg, lower leg. Builds up resistance for walking, for hiking, for sports as well as climbing stairs and the common necessary activities of independent living.
Endurance and cardiovascular fitness are important to allow one to have the endurance to carry out any of these activities.
There are many variations, many choices for aerobic exercise. I use an exercise bike and ergometer that allows one to adjust the resistance as well as the speed of activity. Using a treadmill for a walking or running activity as well as many variations of that are equally valid.
Exercise is important. Lots of research shows that it is important and works best for health. There's a lot of strong evidence showing that for adults, including older adults, that regular activity, and that includes aerobic exercise as well as strength training and balance, improve quality of life, also extend life, decrease risk of cardiovascular disease and many other illnesses and disabilities.
It is about 15 years since the last time that we filmed a similar story down here. And over that time my exercise has changed very little, actually. Minor variations, but overall the same body parts, similar levels of activity.
And perhaps what this speaks to is the fact that if one continues with activity, does it carefully of course and avoids injury, that the capability of maintaining performance over many years is easily achieved.