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It’s a fact of life that we slow down and get more sedentary over time. However, this means the importance of regular exercise as we age actually increases. 

Exercise doesn’t mean you’ve got to suddenly take up running or pump it out at the gym. It does mean, however, that incorporating gentle movement every day can make a big difference to your overall health.

Many older people often start to avoid exercise for different reasons – whether it’s because of health problems, weight or pain issues or concerns about falling.

Benefits of exercise

Getting moving has a lot of benefits for older people living at home, including:

  • Boosting your energy
  • Reducing the impact of illness and chronic disease
  • Weight management
  • Reducing the impact of frailty
  • Protecting your heart
  • Improving mood and memory
  • Enhancing mobility and balance

How can I get moving?

If you haven’t been exercising for some time, it’s important to start out simple. Try going for a small walk once or twice a week to get you started, or even look at doing some of these indoor exercises designed for seniors, such as chair workouts.

It is also a good idea to turn to a professional who can prescribe exercises to suit your needs and level of fitness. But which professionals can help? While physiotherapists often develop exercise programs to rehabilitate an injury, an exercise physiologist is a specialist who can develop an exercise plan to help you with your current and ongoing goals.

What is an Exercise Physiologist?

An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) holds a four-year equivalent university degree and specialises in the exercise and movement for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries. AEPs provide support for people with a range of medical conditions, including:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • osteoporosis and arthritis
  • obesity
  • mental health conditions
  • cancer and cancer treatment recovery
  • chronic pain and fatigue
  • post-surgical rehabilitation (ACL reconstruction, hip/knee replacement)
  • neuromuscular exercise therapy (multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease)
  • pulmonary disease and more

Exercise physiologists can work with you to develop a balanced exercise plan that can work with any health restrictions you have to help build strength, balance, flexibility and cardio stamina.

How do AEPs differ from other exercise professionals such as personal trainers?

The differences are:

  • Exercise physiologists are university qualified
  • They undertake strict accreditation requirements
  • Eligible to register with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and WorkCover and are recognised by most private health insurers
  • They can treat and work with all types of people, those who want to improve their health and wellbeing to those, unfortunately, suffering from a chronic illness.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists are different as they possess extensive knowledge, skills and experience in clinical exercise delivery.


If you enjoyed reading about the importance of exercise as we age, and would like to read more about seniors health topics, check out our blog articles on 7 healthy habits for seniors and tips to reduce falls.

Belinda Peters
Belinda brings more than 17 years experience in journalism to her role as Seasons Digital Content Writer. As our blog editor, Belinda will take the confusion out of aged care with entertaining and informative stories from across the aged care industry and our Seasons communities.
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