iCliniq logo

Ask a Doctor Online Now

HomeHealth articlesphysical activityHow Excess Physical Activity Impacts Elderly People?

Impact of Excess Physical Activity in Elderly People - An Overview

Verified dataVerified data

6 min read


Physical activities, including exercising, positively impact physical and mental well-being. But overdoing it can lead to a range of severe health issues.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. J. N. Naidu

Published At December 21, 2022
Reviewed AtMay 2, 2024


Older age indicates an increased tendency to stay inactive. A sedentary lifestyle usually increases the chances of developing new illnesses and worsening existing ones. But just as the quality of physical activity, the quantity is also essential and should be tracked and monitored.

What Is Physical Activity?

WHO (World Health Organisation) defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. Everyone performs physical activity in their day-to-day life. Physical activity can be categorized according to work done, energy spent, or calories burnt. For example, physical activity at work is entirely different from that of leisure.

Similarly, physical activity during sleep is the lowest as very little energy is required. Physical activity during leisure may include sports, games, and household work. The energy expenditure may or may not be intense depending on the activity type, and so does the calorie burn.

  • Physical Activity in Our Day-To-Day Life: Physical activities include unplanned work that may be usually incorporated into daily life, including doing house chores, gardening and farming, and climbing stairs. In addition, dancing to the favorite beats, running errands, going out shopping, and carrying groceries also require energy expenditure and burn calories.

  • Physical Activity Versus Exercising: Exercising is a preplanned and structured physical activity that improves overall fitness. The similarities between regular physical activities and exercising are calorie burn, energy expenditure, and the movement of the body and skeletal muscles. The primary objective of exercising is solely to improve overall health and fitness.

  • Physical Activity for Healthy Aging: Independence, health, and overall mental stability are the keys to healthy and happy aging. Physical activities, including exercising, improve physical and mental well-being. Spending quality time with the grandchildren, playing hide and seek, going for long drives, and laughing and chatting with them and their friends is a complex and unachievable task for most grandparents, which being active makes achievable.

What Are the Benefits of Physical Activities?

Some of the significant benefits of physical activity during old age are

  • Controls and maintains weight.

  • Prevents and manages many health problems.

  • Destress and enhance mood.

  • Promotes sound sleep.

  • Improves energy.

  • Improves fitness.

  • Improves bone health.

What Are the Different Types of Exercises?

Physical exercises can be categorized in many ways. For example, they can be classified as home and gym workouts based on where they are performed. They can also be categorized as endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility workouts based on the type of bodily movements and benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Aerobics in Older Adults?

Aerobics are endurance exercises that increase breathing and heart rate. Endurance workouts include biking, jogging, dancing, swimming, brisk walking, and climbing stairs, and they improve fitness and increase energy to carry out daily work. Endurance is the degree of bearing or tolerating something; aerobic workouts can improve this quality.

Aerobic exercises are also called endurance or cardio activities. They benefit older adults by reducing the chances of stroke (brain damage due to decreased blood supply), managing arthritis (swelling and pain of the joints), and improving heart health and cognitive functioning (mental functioning). In addition, it improves stamina in daily activities like shopping and house chores. Lack of aerobic exercises can cause early fatigue in doing regular activities.

The social media videos go viral if a 65-year-old couple dances elegantly at a wedding party. Older people are believed to have less endurance, and when someone dances cheerfully, breaking the particular belief, a sense of inspiration and applause emerges.

What Are the Strengthening Workouts for Older Adults?

Strengthening exercises include workouts with resistance bands, free weights, weight machines, or body weights. Resistance workouts improve overall muscle mass and strength and are based on the tendency of human muscles to react to resistance or force.

Strength training is beneficial as it prevents osteoporosis (thinning of bone), reduces back pain, and improves balance. In addition, it causes long calorie burn and helps to manage weight and tone muscles. Furthermore, it improves mental well-being by imparting mindfulness and a positive attitude. It also increases immunity and decreases the occurrence of diseases.

  • Balance Workouts for Balanced Aging: These are types of workouts that will help to improve balance and reduce the chance of fall. More chances of falling are due to an imbalance that increases with age. It can gradually increase dependence and negatively affect the individual's emotional stability. Some balance workouts include lower body strength exercises, balance walking, and tai chi. Tai chi is a Chinese art consisting of slow and controlled movements. In tai chi, bodily movements are done gently and precisely. Heel-to-toe walking and standing on one foot are other instances of balance workouts.

  • Flexibility Workouts for Older People: Flexibility exercises include slow and precise stretching done for muscle parts to increase flexibility. People often find it difficult to bend and pick up the dropped things with age. Proper stretching increases flexibility and enhances free movement, thus making the bending and turning activities effortless.

Is Over-Exercising a Red Signal?

Over-exercising is similar to overdosing; the more accurate the dosage, the better the results. The opposite, the more dangerous. Over-exercising occurs in two different ways, either overtraining or compulsive exercising. Minimal or no rests will be given to the body in between sets or repetitions during overtraining. In this condition, the person will push hard to complete some workout challenges. Compulsive exercising is working out of compulsion, making the whole workout unenjoyable and stressful.

What Are the Signs of Over-Exercising?

  • Prolonged Muscle Soreness - A little discomfort or soreness post-workout session is ordinary. But over-exercising gives no time for muscles to recover and can lead to prolonged soreness, movement difficulties, and swelling. In severe cases, even permanent muscular damage can also take place. Too much stress can damage the tendons, the part connecting muscles to the bones, and may get irritated and swollen. All the above conditions take more time to heal in the case of older adults.

  • Suppressed Immunity - Over-exercising is associated with upper respiratory tract infections and viral reactivation and may lead to recurrent disease and infections in older adults. Continuous colds, flu, and other discomforts are apparent signs of over-exercising.

  • Increased Chances of Injuries - In the case of regular exercising, bone-forming cells synthesize new layers of bone, called bone remodeling. It increases bone density and strength. In case of over-exercising, the balance in bone formation gets affected and can lead to stress fractures. The initial sign of this condition is pain along the bone, which can worsen as night pain and complete fracture.

  • Lousy Mood - Overtraining affects the stress hormone balance. The imbalance can cause increased stress, irritability, mood swings, and lack of concentration. Pushing the body too hard gives almost no time for the muscles to recover, causing fatigue and tiresome. Low mood and sleepiness, even after long hours of proper sleep, are some signs of overdoing. Over-exercising may also affect sleep quality due to the overproduction of stress hormones and increases less chance of relaxation, and increases moodiness. It can lead to less focus and gradual depression.

  • Heart Problems - Exercising increases heart rate, and over-exercising puts more demand on the heart, leading to rhythm disorders and heart damage. Over-exercising is directly related to increased chances of cardiac arrests or cardiac deaths in older people or those with underlying heart problems. Over-exercising can also increase the heart rate at rest which is another predominant sign of heart problems.

  • Kidney Damage - Over-exercising breaks muscle fibers releasing a protein into the bloodstream, which reaches the kidney and causes obstruction in the filtering mechanism by blocking the filtering tubes. It can cause muscular pain and weakness and, in severe cases, kidney failure and even death. This rare condition is called rhabdomyolysis.

  • Weight Gain - Too much exercise increases the secretion of stress hormones like cortisol. It also decreases the secretion of testosterone. Low testosterone is related to decreased muscle mass and calorie burn, leading to weight gain. Cortisol stimulates carbohydrate- fat metabolism, increasing the requirement for energy. This requirement is exhibited as cravings, especially for sweets and fatty junk foods. As a result, the individual may gain weight with increased belly fat accumulation, gradually leading to obesity. Cortisol is the primary hormone responsible for stress eating.

What Are Some Tips to Recover From Overtraining?

If over-exercising and related problems have happened, the next step is to seek medical help to track all the health problems and manage them. There are some easy things to be done in such a situation.

  • Nutrition - Switch to a healthy and balanced diet to incorporate all the wanted nutrients and to compensate for the loss.

  • Hydration - Stay hydrated as over-sweating occurs during over-physical activities. Drinking ample amounts of water and fresh fruit juices can be helpful.

  • Sleep - Sound sleep is the key to relaxation and recovery. Quality should be the prime importance, as prolonged hours of disturbed sleep equals almost no sleep.

  • Relax - Relaxation activities include meditation, peaceful reading, listening to favorite music, and sound sleep. These activities may help to achieve a calm and peaceful state of mind which is necessary for a positive recovery.

  • No More Overdoing - Keep in mind that anything when overdone will be harmful and dangerous, and steps should be taken to bring moderation. Getting help from an expert instructor will help stop over-exercising, recover and restart healthily.

  • Take a Break - Take a break from the workout routine, give rest to the body, and gradually resume at a slow pace under an instructor or trainer.

How to Prevent Over-Exercising?

  • Rest: Rests between each workout and between each set are essential. Rest will give time for the muscles to rebuild and grow. Gaps should be built between workouts of the same muscle groups, which can otherwise lead to injury. Active rest days help complete recovery and motivate and freshen the mind to start afresh. No workouts or mild stretching should be followed during active rest days.

  • Relax: Meditation and yoga are the best options to make oneself relaxed. Mixing up high-intensity workouts with yoga and stretches benefits physically and mentally. Meditation clarifies the mind, improves productivity and focus, and helps quick healing. A healthy mind is necessary to build a healthy body, which can be achieved by relaxing activities. Viewing nature, enjoying the sound of birds, and feeling the breeze are nature's tricks to relax humans. Nature is the best healer.

How Much Is Too Much?

Older adults should limit moderate activities to 150 minutes per week and vigorous activities to 75 minutes. Strength training more than two days a week will give no muscles to recover. Balancing workouts should be done three days a week. Stretching should be included.


The right amount of activities done the right way is the most vital factor to be considered in old age. It is equally essential to track the type of exercise, other physical activities, and nutrition to discover if they are overdone. Remember, some are better than none, but excess can be the worst.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can Physical Activity Affect Growth at 60?

Regular exercise or routine activities can improve health, balance, muscle strength, fitness, and bone health. It can also manage health problems and improve energy. Regular physical activity may not affect height or linear growth at 60.


Is It Harmful to Do Too Much Exercise?

Too much exercise can decrease bone density and cause increased chances of fractures. Over-exercising can make the muscles sore, suppress immunity, and induce stress and mood swings. It can cause muscle and bone injury and gradual health problems in the heart and kidneys.


How Does Physical Activity Affect Old Age?

Physical activities help to maintain weight, manage health problems, promote sound sleep, and enhance mood. It improves fitness, muscle strength, and bone health. Physical activities improve balance and reduce the chances of falling.


How Does Physical Activity Affect the Lungs in Older People?

Regular exercise makes it more efficient in bringing more oxygen to the bloodstream and transporting it to the muscles. Some exercises can strengthen the muscles of the respiratory system and help to improve inhaling and exhaling movements.


How Does Over-Exercising Affect the Heart in Older People?

Overtraining can increase heart rate to an extreme level, causing more heart problems. Over-exercising puts more pressure on heart muscles leading to heart damage. It can increase the chances of cardiac arrest or death in older people.


What Are the Effects of Lack of Exercise on Health at 50?

Lack of exercise in older age can increase the chance of falling due to a lack of balance and muscle strength. It can cause easy fractures due to decreased bone density. Gradually it can lead to decreased flexibility and mobility.


What Are the Effects of Physical Activity on Hypertension?

The risk of high blood pressure or hypertension increases with age, and an inactive lifestyle worsens it. Regular exercise is the key to effective heart functioning. Exercises like aerobics or cardio can improve heart health and restore blood pressure.


How Does Too Much Physical Activity Affect the Elderly?

Over-exercising can lead to muscle soreness, swelling, and permanent damage. It can suppress immunity, and the person may get recurrent infections. It can cause stress fractures or bone breakage and lead to abnormal moods. Heart and kidney problems and weight gain are the other harmful effects.


What Is the Impact of Exercise on Alcohol Consumption?

Exercising can improve blood circulation and causes a good mood. Working out can also relieve stress and health problems, making the person less addicted to alcohol and other temporary stress-relieving solutions.


What Is the Impact of Physical Activity on Mental Health?

Physical activities and exercising can improve mental health by improving cognitive functioning like thinking, focusing, remembering, and decision-making. It also improves self-esteem levels and helps to reduce anxiety, depression, and negative moods.


What Are the Effects of Exercise on Physical Health?

Exercising improves circulation and overall health of the internal organs. It strengthens immunity and helps to fight against diseases. It strengthens the muscles and increases bone density. It helps to overcome health problems and maintains a healthy weight.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. J. N. Naidu
Dr. J. N. Naidu

General Practitioner


physical activity
Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Ask your health query to a doctor online

Family Physician

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy