Physical Activity: Home-based Exercise Interventions for Adults Aged 65 years and Older

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This is a brief summary of the CPSTF finding and systematic review evidence for Physical Activity: Home-based Exercise Interventions for Adults Aged 65 years and Older. Read a complete summary of the systematic review and CPSTF finding.

This information is also availble in a PDF version [PDF – 243 kB].

Summary of Community Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends home-based exercise interventions to improve physical fitness, including balance and muscle strength, power, and endurance, among adults aged 65 years and older.

Major Findings

The CPSTF recommendation is based on evidence from 17 studies included in a systematic review published in 2021.1

  • Interventions improved older adults’ balance, muscle strength, muscle power, and muscular endurance.
  • Participants reported fewer falls and fall-related outcomes and spent more time engaged in physical activity.
An older Asian couple sits on the floor doing stretching exercises with their hands and arms.

What Are Home-based Exercise Interventions?

These interventions aim to instruct and motivate independent living adults aged 65 years and older to engage in physical activity at home to improve their physical fitness. The interventions include specific exercises, initial instruction on routines, and limited or periodic supervision. Sessions are held at least twice each week, and exercises focus on balance or muscle strength, muscle power, or muscle endurance. The exercises use low-cost equipment such as hand weights and towels or resources already in the home such as chairs. Interventions may be delivered by physiotherapists, physical therapists, peer mentors, nurses, or trained intervention providers in person, or through educational materials or digital formats. Interventions may also monitor older adults’ progress and offer feedback, include exercises to improve flexibility, or encourage participants to also engage in aerobic activities, such as walking.

Why is This Important?

  • Adults aged 65 years and older gain substantial health benefits from regular physical activity. Physical activity can preserve physical function and mobility, which may delay the onset of major disability and help older adults maintain independence longer.2
  • Heightened risk for community-acquired infectious disease may reduce opportunities for older adults to be physically active and increase the amount of time they spend at home engaged in sedentary behaviors.1
  • The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition recommends older adults achieve a multicomponent physical activity regiment that combines aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and balance activities.

Learn More

CDC, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Active People, Healthy Nation℠


1 Chaabene H, Prieske O, Herz M, et al. Home-based exercise programmes improve physical fitness of healthy older adults: a PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis with relevance for COVID-19. Ageing Research Reviews 2021;67:101265.

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.

Established in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) is an independent, nonfederal panel of public health and prevention experts whose members are appointed by the director of CDC. CPSTF provides information for a wide range of decision makers on programs, services, and other interventions aimed at improving population health. Although CDC provides administrative, scientific, and technical support for CPSTF, the recommendations developed are those of CPSTF and do not undergo review or approval by CDC. Find more information at