KEEPING ACTIVE IS VITAL AS WE AGE
The importance of exercise is well researched – we all know that keeping active, fit and healthy has a positive impact on our overall health and well-being. It is even more important as we get older – gone are the days when we thought we should take it easy with each year that passes. In 2016 Nuffield Health, who run 75 gyms across the UK published a report stating those aged 70-79 are the decade most frequently using gyms as older people embrace the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Guidance from the NHS states that those over 65 should:
- Aim to be physically active every day – any activity is better than none.
- Activities should focus on improving strength, balance and flexibility and be undertaken at least two days a week.
- Complete at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you are already active, or a combination of both
- Reduce time spent lying down and break up long periods of inactivity with some activity
So, whether it’s a stroll around the park or a simple exercise routine at home, it is evident that increased levels of fitness improve health, confidence and co-ordination – all of which have clear long-term health benefits as we got older. In addition, being active at any age really does stimulate mood and self-esteem ensuring our overall emotional and psychological well-being.
Here are six reasons for the older generation to get going and remain as active as possible.
As we get older muscle strength can weaken, particularly if we are living with other conditions that affect our mobility. By improving muscle strength and bone density we can significantly reduce the risk of falling and improve overall balance. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) those that take regular exercise can reduce the risk of having a hip fracture by 40%.
IMPROVED BONE DENSITY
Exercise that involves weight bearing can help increase bone strength, which reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis, which can result in bone fractures. One in two women and one in five men will break a bone due to osteoporosis according to the National Osteoporosis Society, which as we get older can be incredibly difficult to recover quickly from and can result in further inactivity which then impacts overall health.
REDUCING THE RISK OF GETTING DEMENTIA
Many studies across the world have found that those in their later years who regularly exercise are far less likely to develop dementia.
HAVE MORE INDEPENDENCE AND CONFIDENCE
Exercising in later life leads to improvements in functional reach and balance, which reduces fear of falling. With more confidence older people are more able to make better judgements about what they can and cannot achieve.
REDUCING THE RISK OF A HEART ATTACK OR A STROKE
It is proven that frequent cardiovascular exercise, such as cycling, a paced walk or even domestic tasks around the house can boost overall health by increasing heart rate and therefore blood flow to the heart.
SOCIALISE AND MEET PEOPLE
Getting fit and being active is a great way to meet new people avoiding the feelings of isolation that many people experience as they get older. There are many clubs and activities that are purely focused on enabling older people to enjoy fitness with each other in a safe and enjoyable way.