• University of Reading

Ageing Well: Nutrition and Exercise for Older Adults

Discover how small changes to diet and exercise routines can help older adults age well and stay independent for longer.

445 enrolled on this course

A young woman on the left holds a glass bowl while speaking to an older woman on her right chopping vegetables on a chopping board.

Ageing Well: Nutrition and Exercise for Older Adults

445 enrolled on this course

  • 2 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Boost the quality of life of those in your care

Are people who age well just lucky? Or is there something you can do to ensure older adults in your care enjoy a better quality of life?

On this two-week course from the University of Reading, you’ll discover the science and practice of ageing well. Informed by the latest research in nutrition and health science, the course provides easily implemented guidance for older adults and their carers.

Understand what research says about the changing needs of our bodies as we age

Research has shown that adjusting your diet to include more protein and taking up strength-building exercises can make all the difference when it comes to ageing well. The course will start by introducing the science behind nutritional guidance for older adults.

You’ll learn how small changes to the ingredients of favourite meals and regular physical exercise routines that can be done at home help maintain independence by preventing undernutrition and preserving muscular mobility.

Get tailored advice and guidance to help those in your care

Once you’ve understood the science, you can begin applying it. In Week 2 of the course, you’ll receive advice on how to put the health and nutritional guidance into practice and communicate it to those in your care.

Throughout the course, you’ll produce an action plan of tailored tips and tricks that you can apply to your own particular situation. These include recipes for nutritious meals, activities to do at home, and communication strategies for encouraging older adults to tweak their habits.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the confidence you need to support those you care for as they age well.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 2 seconds We know that we’re facing into an ageing demographic. This means that a large proportion of our population is getting older. We also know that a large proportion of our population is suffering from or is at risk of malnutrition. So we really need to design strategies to help to prevent that. Protein malnutrition is an issue and we know that muscle mass declines as people age. Muscle mass is associated with reduced independence, reduced quality of life because people aren’t able to do things as well for themselves. You can only age well if you take care of yourself. If you abandon a good diet, if you don’t take enough exercise, you won’t age well, will you?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds We’re really hoping that this course will give people the knowledge firstly to understand why it’s really important to become more physically active and why diet can really help as we age. but also it will kind of empower them to make those small changes or to encourage people that they care for to make those changes. They don’t need to be big changes in our lifestyle, it can be small changes day to day that actually can have a big impact in how we age.


  • Week 1

    How to age well - the science

    • Welcome to the course

      Is ageing well just luck? Or is there something you can do about it? Start your learning journey here.

    • Eating well

      How what we eat affects our health outcomes and why.

    • Being active

      Why strength-building exercise is vital as we age.

    • Review and reflect

      Reflect on how what you've learnt challenges previous assumptions and make a plan for acting on it.

  • Week 2

    How to age well - the practice

    • Welcome to Week 2

      This Week is all about changing practice. Before moving on, reflect on changes you might make to your own lifestyle.

    • Practical ways to eat well

      Discover small changes that'll make a big difference.

    • Practical ways to be active

      Try out exercises that can be done at home and incorporated into daily routines.

    • Making changes

      Tips on how to encourage those you care for to change their habits and routines, and how to take your learning further.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop skills in enabling older adults to make manageable improvements in diet and exercise routines.
  • Identify strategies and tools, such as recipes and tips for exercising safely at home, which make a real difference to ageing well.
  • Apply your knowledge, transferring it into an action plan tailored to the particular preferences and health contexts of the people you care for.
  • Discuss the challenges and rewards of your job with other carers, sharing tips on how best to communicate with and encourage older adults to bring about lasting change in habits for healthier outcomes.

Who is the course for?

This course is primarily designed for carers of older adults, including both family members and staff working in care or nursing homes or providing in-home care services.

It will also be useful for older adults looking for evidence-based activities to apply in their own lives, or for medical staff and dieticians seeking tools to help them communicate with older patients.

Who will you learn with?

Lisa is Professor of Food and Sensory Science at the University of Reading. She leads the FoodBioSystems Doctoral Training Partnership for PhD students in the UK.

Dr Miriam Clegg is a Lecturer and Researcher in Nutritional Sciences and a Registered Nutritionist. She researches appetite and nutritional health across the life-course.

I am a senior scientist at INRAE, France. My research aims at promoting healthy diets in older adults while keeping eating pleasure: two keys factors to sustain "well-ageing"!

My main focus is on different approaches to nutrition, health and consumer as well as quantitative and qualitative research. My research field is older adults and their food habits.

Who developed the course?

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 6 May 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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