Fitness Programmes for the Elderly


Picture : Fitness Exercise for the Elderly
Booklet of “Fitness Exercise for the Elderly”



According to the findings of the “Territory-wide Physical Fitness Survey for the Community”, among the elderly people in Hong Kong (aged 60 to 69), over 50% of females and 60% of males were overweight or obese.  More than 30% of elderly men had a waist circumference over 90 cm and 40% of elderly women had a waist circumference over 80cm, i.e. they suffered from “central obesity” as defined by the World Health Organization.  The study also showed that over 40% of elderly men and 30% of elderly women were suffering from high blood pressure.  Moreover, over 40% of the elderly did not meet the physical activity level recommended by the World Health Organization, i.e. at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week.

The overall findings of the study underscored a certain degree of correlation between the levels of physical fitness and physical activity. To lead an enjoyable later life, the elderly should exercise regularly and keep a healthy lifestyle.

Doing a moderate amount of exercise is beneficial to physical and mental health. The benefits are as follows:

  1. Fitness Programmes for the ElderlyStrengthen your body and improve cardiopulmonary functions;
  2. Burn calories# to maintain a healthy body weight;
  3. Improve blood pressure and reduce the level of blood lipids;
  4. Prevent or control diabetes;
  5. Prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke;
  6. Prevent osteoporosis;
  7. Prevent some types of cancer (e.g. colorectal cancer);
  8. Reduce the risk of falls;
  9. Improve your mood and relieve stress in daily life; and
  10. Help make new friends and broaden social circle.
#To learn more about the physical activity and calorie expenditure will help body weight management.
  Example 1: For an elderly person aged 75 years and weighing 65 kg, a 30-minute slow walk will burn about 120 kcal of energy.
Example 2:   For an elderly person aged 60 years and weighing 50 kg, 30 minutes of fitness exercise will burn about 140 kcal of energy.
(Note: The examples shown above are for reference only.  The actual amount of energy expended may vary with individual’s age, gender, physical fitness, skill level, intensity of exercise, etc.)

To encourage the elderly to do more physical activities, information on some suitable exercises, including chair aerobics, walk aerobics and towel exercise, are provided below.  Information on exercises to improve muscle strength and balance control are also provided to meet their needs.


Points to Note for the Elderly During Exercise: 

  1. Seek advice from a medical practitioner or professional before doing exercise;
  2. Pay attention to safety and remember to clear all the obstacles within the exercise area;
  3. Wear suitable sportswear and sports shoes;
  4. Proceed step by step and start with simple exercise;
  5. Remember to do sufficient warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after the physical activities;
  6. Keep breathing smoothly and beware of any symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath and chest tightness. If you have any of such symptoms, stop the exercise immediately; and
  7. Keep the intensity of exercise within the scale between 5 to 7 according to the "Rating of Perceived Exertion" (see the table below), and adjust the intensity according to your own fitness level.

Rating of Perceived Exertion


Guidelines on the Amount of Physical Activity for the Elderly :

Physical activity can be undertaken as part of recreation and leisure (play, games, sports or planned exercise), transportation (walking and cycling), work, or household chores, in the context of daily occupational, educational, home or community settings.


Remarks: Under the relevant guidelines of WHO, old age is defined as persons aged 65 and above. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department, in consultation with the relevant local professional bodies, considers that the Guidelines on the Amount of Physical Activity for the Elderly set out in this pamphlet also apply to persons aged 60 to 64.


Fitness Exercise for the Elderly 

Steps: A Warm-up Exercises (i) Mobility Exercises
(ii) Stretching Exercises
B Fitness Exercises (i) Chair Aerobics for the Elderly
(ii) Walk Aerobics for the Elderly
(iii) Towel Exercise for the Elderly
(iv) Static Balancing Training for the Elderly
(v) Muscle Strengthening Exercises for the Elderly
C Cool-down Exercises (i) Breathing Exercises for the Elderly
(ii) Stretching Exercises

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Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China