Whilst exercise is important for people of all ages, alarmingly 75% of Australians aged 65 and over are not sufficiently active! Exercise Right Week is from 20th – 26th May 2019 and this year’s theme is Active Ageing.
The current physical activity guidelines for older Australians (65 years and older) recommend you to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days of the week. This is for good reason too, as exercise has many benefits! Below we will discuss some of these benefits!
1. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of health problems
Increased physical activity is associated with reduced incidence of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers. Additionally, weight bearing exercises help to increase bone mineral content, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures. Exercise can also improve our balance, reducing risk of falls and the injuries associated with falls. Research has also found that exercise is just as effective in relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis as are pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications.
2. It makes us feel better
Exercise can significantly reduce depressive
symptoms in people of all ages. Exercise can help improve sleep patterns and changes levels of certain chemicals in our brain that play a role in mood and stress. Exercise can also help to interrupt negative thoughts which can make depression worse and increase our perceived coping ability by learning a new skill. Loneliness and social isolation have been linked to depression and anxiety; when exercise is done in a group setting it can provide a means of social support and reduce feelings of loneliness.
3. It’s good for your brain
Research has found that regular exercise increases the volume of the hippocampus by approximately 2%. The hippocampus is an area of the brain that shrinks in late adulthood, leading to impaired memory and increased risk of dementia. Exercise training can effectively reverse this age related loss in volume by 1-2 years! Additionally, the results of a walking program in Japan showed an improvement in word fluency as a result of improved frontal lobe function.
4. It will improve quality of life
Exercise improves quality of life by helping to maintain muscle and bone strength, improving balance, reducing risk of falls and improving endurance; all of which allow us to continue to engage in the activities we enjoy. Regular physical activity postpones disability and facilitates independent living. Exercise also allows us to live a longer life!
Exercise is medicine for people of all ages! If you want to start your journey to active ageing but do not know where to start, the team at Southside Physiotherapy can help!