7 reasons why seniors need physical activity for healthy ageing
Being active has benefits for each and every one of us regardless of our age or health status. However, as we age our motivations to stay active change. Here are 7 terrific reasons to get active and stay active for older Australians.
1. Being active improves memory and brain function.
Regular exercise boosts oxygen to the brain and can improve cognitive processing, memory recall and reaction times. This helps ward off the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
2. Active seniors have less falls.
Everyday activities like getting in and out of a shower, picking something off the floor or wrangling unruly grandkids can compromise your balance. But being physically active can improve balance and coordination and help minimise the risk of falls. Falls are the most common cause of injury among older people, and a broken hip can lead to long hospital admissions – something no-one wants!
3. Being active reduces risk of developing chronic diseases or better managing the ones you already have.
4. Bones are stronger from being more physically active.
Loading up your bones by being active helps make them stronger. Osteoporosis occurs when there is less bone building than bone clearing processes taking place in your body, making bones weaker overall. Exercise helps reverse this process. Strength training is the best ‘bang for buck’ exercise to help increase bone strength, but even walking is beneficial.
5. Active seniors recover better from illness.
Exercise, along with a nutritious diet, will play a leading role in maintaining overall good health and a stronger immune system. Exercise boosts circulation, which may allow the immune system’s cells to move through the body more freely and perform their job more efficiently.
6. Being active improves physical function and independence.
Did you know your body subscribes to the “use it or lose it” concept? If you are maintaining body movement, and challenging your muscles, you will have better muscle strength and function. This helps you keep performing the things you love doing, like, dancing, walking the dog or playing golf. As well as the things, you may not love doing, but still need to do like hanging out the washing or lifting the groceries.
7. Active seniors are more socially connected.
Older adults are vulnerable to loneliness, or more aptly – alone-ness, which can lead to a depressed mood. Reduced independence can make it more difficult to maintain social connections. However, being active with others can help build independence and a sense of community. And make it easier to maintain relationships with others, particularly if it follows part of your weekly routine.
So how much exercise should you aim for?
Seniors should complete at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days; no matter their age, weight, health problems or abilities. Every day aim to be active in as many ways as possible. It’s suggested that you perform a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.
Being more active will yield noticeable improvements to both your physical and psychological wellbeing. If you haven’t been active in some time, start small and gradually build from there.
See your GP or an accredited Exercise Physiologist to help get you started and stay on track.
Regardless of how old you are, it’s never too late to start incorporating exercise into your life.
How can Lite n’ Easy help?
Exercise, along with a nutritious diet is essential for seniors to age well. Lite n’ Easy has a wide range of meals that suit a mix of appetites and preferences. For those who don’t want to cook, our regular dinner range provides all of the home comforts in a convenient package. For those with a smaller appetite, My Choice by Lite n’ Easy is a new range of great tasting meals developed specifically to help older Australians to meet their nutritional needs. Eating enough of the right nutrients, including energy and protein, can help older people to stay independent, active and promote longevity. Give us a call on 13 15 12 or click here to order now.
Bell Silverthorne is an exercise physiologist, wellness coach and lifestyle medicine practitioner with a passion for every day Australians to be that little bit healthier. Whether it’s sleeping better, exercising more, eating more fruit and veggies each day or doing your best to maintain a good headspace. Bell is a massive advocate of lifestyle medicine – harnessing your everyday lifestyle habits to help prevent, manage or even reverse chronic disease.