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JFSF Vol 7, No 1, March 2022, p.18-28

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-07-018


Review Article

Recommendations for physical activity in the elderly population: A scoping review of guidelines

Christos Nikitas1, Dimitris Kikidis1, Athanasios Bibas1, Marousa Pavlou2, Zoi Zachou1, Doris-Eva Bamiou3,4

  1. National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Hippocrateion General Hospital, Athens, Greece
  2. Centre for Human & Applied Physiological Sciences, School of Basic & Medical Biosciences Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King’s College London, United Kingdom
  3. Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL Ear Institute, University College London, United Kingdom
  4. Hearing & Deafness Biomedical Research Centre, National Institute for Health Research, United Kingdom

Keywords: Clinical guidelines, Older adults, Physical activity


Physical inactivity and sedentary time are associated with all-cause mortality, chronic non-communicable diseases and falls in the elderly. Objective of this review is to assess and summarize recommendations from clinical guidelines for physical activity (PA) of older adults in general and related to falls. A scoping review of the existing clinical guidelines was conducted. The included studies should have been developed under the auspices of a health organization and their methodology should be described in detail. Nine clinical guidelines providing specific recommendations for the elderly were identified. There was a strong agreement across the guidelines regarding goals, activities parameters, adverse effects of PA, in addition to reference for preventing falls. Keeping even the minimum of physical activity, introducing balance exercises and strengthening exercises for preventing falls, avoiding unexpected accelerations in the intensity of the activities, applying the necessary precautions and consulting a health professional are the main pillars of recommendations. Despite any deficiencies in definitions, monitoring and optimal dosage consistency of recommendations, is an ideal incentive for countries and organizations to adopt and enhance physical activity as an antidote to the degeneration of human’s health and quality of life.