We all know that exercise is good for us, but some people think that with each passing year they should try to do less and take it easy. Wrong.
Health experts advise that regular exercise for the elderly offers great benefits, including extending lifespan.
But alarmingly, only one in four people between the ages of 65 and 74 exercise regularly.
According to the National Institute for Ageing, exercise is good for people of any age and can ease symptoms of many chronic conditions. And contrary to popular belief, weakness and poor balance are actually linked to inactivity, rather than age.
At SweetTree, a leading UK care provider, they are ‘passionate about exercise’ and have seen the benefits first hand on many of their clients.
“We encourage our carers to get active with clients wherever possible (with the consent of a medical professional) as the positive impact on their health and wellbeing is clearly evident,” says Nicki Bones, Operations Director at SweetTree Home Care Services.
“Increased fitness, strength, confidence, coordination and mood are just some of the positive affects experienced by our clients.
Whether a stroll to the high street or simple stretches and exercise routines in the home, our clients and carers alike find it rewarding and enjoyable.”
Here are SweetTree’s 7 reasons for golden oldies to get going…
1. Live longer
According to the World Health Organization, leading a sedentary lifestyle is one of 10 leading causes of death and disability. Even gentle, regular exercise such as walking or swimming can increase lifespan by around three to five years.
2. Prevent falls
Improving muscle strength and bone density can be helpful in reducing the risk of falls as it can also improve balance. The WHO say regular exercise can reduce the risk of having a hip fracture by 40%.
3. Reduced risk of stroke or heart attack
Regular cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling or light housework – anything that raises the heart rate - will increase blood flow to the heart and boost your overall health.
4. Better bone density
Weight-bearing exercise such as walking or jogging can help increase the strength of bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures. According to The National Osteoporosis Society, one in two women and one in five men will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
5. Reduced risk of developing dementia
Being sedentary in later years can increase the risk of developing dementia, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study, which analysed more than 1,600 older adults over five years, found that those who did not exercise were more likely to develop dementia than those who did.
6. Prevent or delay disease
Exercise is an effective remedy for many chronic conditions. Studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular activity. It can also help in management of high cholesterol; keeping cholesterol levels within a healthy range can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
7. More confidence and independence
A study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined exercise in the elderly and found that training led to improvements in functional reach and balance and reduced participants' fear of falling.
For more info on how to stay active, visit www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness