Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Gentle exercises for older, frail people

September 1, 2021

For older people with heart-related issues, strength and balance exercises may help prevent falls and preserve independence.


Exercise can boost both the duration and quality of your life, especially if you start when you’re young and keep at it. But as people age, heart disease or other health problems sometimes derail exercise routines. The resulting loss of muscle and endurance often contributes to frailty, which affects about a quarter of people after age 85 but can also occur at younger ages (see "What is frailty?").

Because frailty often develops gradually, it can be overlooked. "It’s usually a family member who notices that the person is looking a little less steady or walking more slowly than usual," says Darlene Harrier, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.