Nursing homes, assisted living centers, and other such places where long-term care is provided to individuals should be required, as a condition of maintaining their licenses, that individuals enrolled in such facilities perform a minimum of 2 hours of strenuous physical exercise per week (an average of just over 17 minutes a day). Exercise that qualifies as strenuous would place the individual between the minimum and maximum heart rate appropriate for his/her age for the minimum 120 minutes per week.
Each individual could be allowed to choose whatever exercises they like without restriction, however, they should be advised that it is beneficial to alter their exercise routine periodically. Elder care facilities need not be required to provide exercise equipment to their population, but they must be required to ensure that their patients are fulfilling the minimum exercise requirements. Exercise equipment is not absolutely necessary in order to meet these requirements.
Several ingenious ways could potentially be set up to financially encourage people to do more exercise. The best methods would encourage individuals not only to exercise but to perform other financial benefits for either themselves or others. For example, programs could be set up where people could invest money into their own retirement account, and for each dollar they invest, they would be able to get 90 cents back when they perform the required amount of exercise. Or maybe they could use such a system as a bank, so that when funds are needed, they could just exercise more (with the expended calories being recorded on the exercise machine and automatically sent to the ‘bank’ as proof) to withdraw money from that account. Perhaps health insurance companies could develop some sort of similar arrangement where people could get a portion of their premiums back for every unit of exercise performed. To provide a significant public benefit, people could open accounts with charity organizations, effectively loaning them interest-free money, and then perform exercise to get either a fraction or even 100% of each dollar back upon the performance of each unit of exercise. Either way, the charity comes out ahead because, at the very least, they would have benefited from the use of interest-free money. But chances are that charities would do much better because people tend to not like to exercise, so people will tend to either not deplete their account, or do so very slowly. If accounts are drawn slowly, charities could attach time restrictions that would effectively increase the returns to the charity by decreasing the amount of returns possible to the original depositors as the amount of time increases between the deposit and the removal of funds.