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Physical Activity Benefits for Adults 65 or Older

What to know

A single session of moderate to vigorous physical activity provides immediate benefits for your health. In addition, regular physical activity helps prevent many chronic diseases.

Benefits of physical activity graphic for adults 65 and older.



  • Sleep: improves sleep quality.
  • Less Anxiety: reduces feelings of anxiety.
  • Blood Pressure: reduces blood pressure.


  • Brain Health: reduces risks of developing dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) and reduces risk of depression.
  • Heart Health: lowers risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Cancer Prevention: lowers risk of 8 cancers (bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach).
  • Healthy Weight: reduces risk of weight gain.
  • Independent Living: helps people live independently longer.
  • Bone Strength: improves bone health.
  • Balance and Coordination: reduces risks of falls.

Emerging research suggests physical activity may also help boost immune function12.

Source: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition.

  1. Nieman D, Wentz L. The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system. J Sport Health Sci. 2019 May;8(3): 201-17.
  2. Jones A, Davison G . Exercise, immunity, and illness. Muscle and Exercise Physiology. 2019;317-44.