The cheapest and most effective countermeasure to this decline is choosing to be physically active at every age.
For Australians aged 65 and over, physical activity becomes important.
Exercise provides a wide range of benefits, the main being the management and treatment of chronic conditions, and with older age comes greater incidence of chronic illness and disease.
Here are the top 7 reasons why older adults need to exercise regularly.
1. To reduce the risk of developing or managing chronic diseases
2. To improve memory and brain function
Keeping a healthy body is imperative to keeping a healthy mind.
Regular exercise boosts oxygen to the brain and in turn can improve cognitive processing, memory recall and reaction times. These notable benefits effectively reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline in later life.
Studies have consistently shown that exercise stimulates the human brain’s ability to maintain old and create new network connections that are vital to cognitive health.
3. To reduce the risk of falls
Every year, 1 in 3 people aged 65 years and over will have a fall, and falls are the most common cause of injury among older people.
Physical activity improves balance and coordination and in turn can minimise the risk of falls.
4. To build stronger bones
As we age, the focus is addressing risk factors for frailty and falls. Bone strength effectively can be addressed through different types of exercise.
Ultimately, bones become stronger when a certain amount of load is placed on them.
5. To improve physical function and independence
With exercise improving muscle strength and muscle function, and reducing the risk of falls, this in turn then improves our physical function and independence as we age.
Maintaining functional independence is important as we age as it provides older adults with the choice to stay at home and enjoy all aspects of their daily lives at their own pace which then has positive effects on their mental health.
6. To recover from illness quickly
Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.
It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
7. To stay socially connected
Our ability to maintain social connections is often compromised as we age.
This is mainly due to our decline in functional abilities and independence, which in turn makes it difficult to get out and
maintain our social connections, often leading to feelings of loneliness and poor mental health.
Community-based exercise programs are a great solution to social isolation and prolonging independence, as they effectively provide a safe, supportive and motivational environment to build self-confidence and maintain relationships with others.
Before you exercise
It’s important to remember that for older people who are starting to re-engage in physical activity after a period of time, or for the first time ever, they should consult with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or their GP.
You will be encouraged to start at a level that is easily manageable and then gradually build up to the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.
If you would like to book in with one of our Exercise Physiologists, contact us now as spots normally fill up fast.