Nutrition and Fitness for Older Adults

Benefits of Strength & Fitness Training for Older Adults

For older adults, prioritising health and fitness is important for overall well-being. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of chronic conditions, enhances mobility, balance, and flexibility, and supports mental health by reducing stress and anxiety.

Staying active also aids cognitive function, lowering the risk of age-related decline. Embracing a healthy lifestyle in later years enhances vitality and independence which helps for a well-rounded future.

This article is going to take a dive into the importance of physical activity and provide some exercises to help benefit older adults and some nutrition tips.

How exercise helps prevent falling:

  • A fall occurs in over 29% of those 65 and older each year.
  • Every year, there are around 29 million falls, which result in 27,000 fatalities and 7 million injuries that require medical treatment or impair daily activities for a minimum of a day.
  • According to research, physical activity, particularly activities that emphasise strengthening, balance, and walking, can help reduce the likelihood of falling, the frequency of falls, as well as the risk of death.

Improve Your Balance

Calf raises: Calf raises, and similar exercises benefit knee and lower-body stability while enhancing balance. This dual-purpose exercise strengthens muscles crucial for daily activities.
Sit to stand: Essential for mobility, independence, and balance, exercises like sit-to-stand target key muscles in the legs, core, and back, supporting overall movement and stability.

The Role of Nutrition in Ageing:

Dietary habits are crucial in preventing age-related diseases and maintaining good health as one ages. Certain nutrients become more important as you age:

Getting enough calcium helps lower your chances of developing diabetes, osteoporosis, and fractures.

As you age, you run the risk of having reduced calcium levels for the following reasons:

  • You may not take in enough calcium from the food you’re eating.
  • The medication you’re on may decrease dietary calcium absorption.
  • It’s possible that you have osteoporosis, which alters bone strength and development.

How much calcium do you need each day?
The calcium requirements for age 65 + is 1200 mg per day.
To meet your calcium needs effectively, consider taking supplements. For optimal absorption, spread calcium intake throughout the day, aiming for 500 mg or less at each meal, whether from supplements or dietary sources.

Good sources of calcium:
Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) are rich in absorbable calcium and often fortified with vitamin D.

Leafy greens like kale and broccoli provide calcium with additional nutritional benefits, suitable for plant-based diets.

Fortified foods and beverages, such as almond milk and orange juice, offer calcium supplementation for those with dietary preferences or restrictions

Vitamin D

Low Vitamin D levels relate to several age-related illnesses, including dementia, depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Without enough exposure to sunshine, it is difficult to obtain enough vitamin D merely from food. As a result, many professionals advise using vitamin D supplements as a secure and affordable method of treating vitamin D insufficiency.

How much Vitamin D do you need?
It is recommended that adults obtain at least 600 IU up to the age of 70. Those over 70 years old should eat at least 800 IU of vitamin D each day.

Good sources of Vitamin D
Sunlight: Exposure during midday aids natural vitamin D production; however, factors like skin type, location, and sunscreen affect synthesis.
Fatty Fish: Incorporate salmon, mackerel, and tuna into your diet for ample vitamin D, fulfilling nutritional requirements.


Most people lack sufficient fibre in their diet, which plays a vital role in reducing the risk of health issues like diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, constipation, and diverticular disease. Additionally, it is essential for cholesterol reduction and maintaining a healthy gut.

How much fibre do you need each day?
Men should take in 30 grams of fibre per day.
For women 21 grams of fibre per day is appropriate.

Good sources of Fibre
Whole Grains: Choose brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and oats for high dietary fibre.
Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are plant-based and fibre-rich.
Fruits and Vegetables: Fibre-rich fruits and veg like berries, apples, pears, broccoli, carrots, and leafy greens.

Physical Activity Benefits:

Physical activity can serve as a defence against noncommunicable conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

Exercise may enhance mental health by decreasing anxiety, depression, and depressive-like symptoms, while also improving self-esteem and cognitive performance. Exercise has also been demonstrated to help with problems including poor self-esteem.

Promotes social engagement
As we age, staying physically active helps us preserve our independence while also minimising the risk of social isolation and loneliness. It also gives us a great method to interact with and engage with others.

Improves cognitive function
Age-related cognitive decline in older persons can be slowed down by physical activity. Memory, language, perception, visual execution, processing, comprehension, and judgement are all aspects of cognitive function.