Keeping Active As We Get Older...

Physical activity and exercise can help you stay healthy, energetic, and independent as you get older. There's strong evidence that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression, and dementia.

5 benefits of regular exercise for older people include:

  • Muscle - the amount and size of muscle fibres decreases with age. The muscle fibres that seem to be most affected are those of the ‘

fast twitch’ variety, which govern strength and speedy contraction. There is evidence to suggest that these changes are related to a sedentary lifestyle, rather than age. Muscle mass can increase in the older person after regularly exercising for a relatively short period of time.

  • Bone - bone density begins to decline after the age of 40, but this loss accelerates around the age of 50 years. As a result of this bone loss, older people are more prone to bone fractures. Exercise may help to reduce the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise, in particular, helps to keep bones healthy and strong.

  • Heart and lungs - moderate intensity exercise is most favourable: for example, exercising at about 70 per cent of the individual’s maximum heart rate (220 beats per minute minus your age). Studies show that cardio-respiratory fitness takes longer to achieve in an older person than a young person, but the physical benefits are similar. Regardless of age, people are able to improve their cardio-respiratory fitness through regular exercise.

  • Joints - the joints of the body require regular movement to remain supple and healthy. In particular, people with arthritis can benefit from aerobic and strengthening exercise programs.

  • Strength Training: The Primary Weapon Against Ageing - Strength training has many health benefits for women as well as men, older adults as well as younger adults. Strength training is extremely important in combating the age-related declines in muscle mass, bone density and metabolism. It is an effective way to increase muscle strength and to shed unwanted inches. Strength training also helps to decrease back pain, reduce arthritic discomfort, and help prevent or manage some diabetic symptoms. Using a mixture of free weights and resistance machines incorporated into your workouts can help increase and maintain muscle function.

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