activity—activity that causes heavy sweating or large increases in heart rate—is
better than moderate activity for maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness, but
relatively few older persons engage in regular vigorous activity (i.e., three
times per week or more), and the numbers decline steadily with age. Estimates
for 2000 indicate that, only 13 percent of individuals between ages 65 and 74
reported engaging in vigorous physical activity for 20 minutes 3 or more days
per week, and only 6 percent of those 75 and older reported such exercise.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010, 2nd
ed. With Understanding and Improving Health and Objectives for Improving Health.
2 vols. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, November 2000.
Note: Data are based on 1997 data adjusted to the age of the
U.S. population in 2000.
Research studies have suggested that
muscle-strengthening exercises may protect against the decline in bone mass
experienced by post-menopausal women and protect against falls. However, in 1998
only 10 percent of Americans between ages 65 and 74 report engaging in
activities 2 or more days per week that enhance and maintain strength and
Incorporating activity into normal daily
routines (for example, walking or bicycling rather than driving) is one of the
most effective strategies for becoming more active. However, in 1995, only 16
percent to 19 percent of adults over age 65 reported making trips of 1 mile or
less by walking. In addition, less than 0.3 percent of those over age 65
reported using a bicycle to make trips of 5 miles or less.