Why Regular Exercise Is Vital To Good Health As You Age
A small step toward keeping fit and well as you age goes a long way to maintaining a good level of energy. Staying fit does not mean having to go to the gym regularly or walking many miles (unless you want to!). There are many ways to incorporate some exercise into your weekly routine and before you know it, you will be stretching up to the top shelf in the pantry again to get the stock pot down!
The old saying - use it or lose it – could never be so true as it is for our muscle and bones. Most problems associated with changes to muscles, bones and joints in ageing are caused by lack of use.
There are three aspects to staying fit and well, to ensure we feel good, healthy and energetic as we age: Strength, Flexibility and Balance.
Strength – to pick up those unwanted boxes in the shed and move them onwards!
Muscle mass deteriorates with age. People who are physically inactive will lose much more muscle mass every year compared to those that do not. On average, physically inactive people lose 3-5% of their muscle mass each decade after 30 years of age. The rate varies depending on other factors such as diet and genetics, but we know for sure that the more exercise you do, the more you prevent muscle atrophy.
Bone is a living tissue and the structure of our bones changes as we age resulting in loss of bone tissue. Hormonal changes in both men and women will affect bone density but if you exercise, your bone density will be maintained.
Our muscles and bones like to be used, so don’t forget about them, a little bit of exercise goes a long way to keeping our muscles and bones strong enough to keep us well throughout our elderly years.
Flexibility – to reach the top cupboard for your treasured photo albums!
As we age, our flexibility reduces because tendons become more rigid and ligaments become shorter. There is less lubricating fluid inside the joints and the cartilage becomes thinner, resulting in overall reduced elasticity and flexibility and increased stiffness in our joints. These problems are often caused by a lack of exercise.
Exercise helps keep the fluid moving and producing more, the more we use our joints, the more fluid that will be produced to help them. And so our joint mobility is maintained.
Stretching our muscles and tendons is as important as strength training to keep our muscle mass. In doing both, you will develop better balance and prevent falls.
Balance – to get in and out of your car easily!
Problems with maintaining balance in your body as you age is the main cause of falls and fractures in the elderly. Loss of balance occurs when muscles weaken and joints are less flexible, reducing our ability to adapt to variations on the ground we are walking or in our general surrounds.
Keeping active with both strength and flexibility exercises will help you maintain balance in your body, minimising the possibility of falls.
Therefore, Strength + Flexibility = Balance
The math is simple, get going and get active, you have many years ahead of you. More of us are getting older and soon the number of people in Australia over 65 years will outnumber young people under the age of 15 – which will be a first in Australia!
Where to find exercise classes for the elderly around Adelaide
There are many opportunities for people over 65 years in the Adelaide community to stay fit and well.
Local councils - your local council runs community events and activities for over 65’s. For example, the City of Adelaide have the Easy Moves Exercise classes weekly.
COTA SA run the Strength for Life Fitness program for older Australians through approved Strength for Life accredited trainers in Adelaide.
Active Ageing in South Australia promote the benefits of staying fit and well as you age and have plenty of resources on their website along with events in your local area.
Home Nursing Solutions will help you stay fit and well
Call us on 8331 3791 to discuss how your home care package can incorporate health and wellbeing services to get you physically fitter and healthier, and out and about again. We can help you access activities in your local community or bring a fitness regime into your home.
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