MOVEMENT AND MOBILITY IN THE ELDERLY
Statistics show that the over 65 population will double between the years 2000 and 2030. Unfortunately, despite people being able to live longer, they are living with an increased prevalence in chronic disease and reduced quality of life. Only 17.2% of those aged over 65 are meeting the physical activity guidelines.
The majority of the population, regardless of age, is aware that regular exercise and physical activity provides some significant health benefits. This is especially true for older adults.
Mobility is defined as “the ability to move or be moved freely and easily.”
Benefits of Exercise for Older Australians
Exercise reduces the risk and incidence of falls - Osteoperosis Australia reports that a third of older adults will experience a fall in any given year and 6% of these result in a fracture, which can be disastrous for independence. Read our article about falls prevention here.
Prevent disease - The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that more than 70% of Australians aged over 65 is living with at least 1 of 8 chronic conditions, including heart disease, back pain, asthma, arthritis and diabetes. Exercise helps to both prevent and manage chronic disease.
Improved mental health - The mental health benefits of exercise are nearly endless. Exercise produces endorphins (the “feel good” hormone), which act as a stress reliever and leaves you feeling happy and satisfied. In addition, exercise has been linked to improving sleep, which is especially important for older adults who often suffer from insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns.
Social engagement - Whether you join a walking group, go to group fitness classes or visit a gardening club, exercise can be made into a fun social event. Maintaining strong social ties is important for aging adults to feel a sense of purpose and avoid feelings of loneliness or depression.
Improved cognitive function - Regular physical activity and fine-tuned motor skills benefit cognitive function. Countless studies suggest a lower risk of dementia for physically active individuals, regardless of when you begin a routine.
Looking at these facts it is easy to see that whilst not performing any exercise you are likely reducing your quality of your retired life.
Proportion of People with One or More Chronic Conditions
What is the Right Amount and Type of Exercise?
It is recommended that adults perform 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most, if not all, days of the week. A wide range of types of exercise should be performed including; fitness (cardiovascular), strength, balance and flexibility. Always start at an easy level and gradually progress! If you need any tips or support in starting a new exercise regime our Accredited Exercise Physiologists can guide you through the journey. They can even come to your home or provide online consultations with Telehealth.
It’s never too late to start and there’s always a way to overcome barriers with the right support.
Below are our top 5 exercises for staying mobile and active in your golden years:
Simple, free, and as humans on two legs it’s one of the most functional abilities we can have. Aim to build your walking up to at least 30 minutes per day for the greatest benefit.
2. Sit to Stands
Take a dining room chair or any stool or object that you can rise from with minimal assistance. Make sure that your knees and toes are aligned and stand up by pushing through the floor. Initially, it is fine to use a higher chair or even use your hands for support! Return back to a seated position slowly and in a controlled manner. This exercise will develop the strength of almost all the muscles of your lower body.
3. Wall Angels
This one is recommended for poor posture and hunchback. Stand or sit against a wall, making sure your lower back, upper back, back of shoulders and back of head are in contact with the wall. Put arms into a W shape with back of wrists and elbows touching the wall. Keeping all these points in contact with the wall slowly slide your arms up the wall so you are reaching over head. Feel a gentle stretch and return to the starting position in a slow controlled manor.
4. Slow High Knee Marching
Slowly march one leg at a time, lifting the knee to the height of your hip. Aim to spend as long as possible on one leg. This exercise will challenge your balance and greatly benefit your walking gait. Perform it along a hallway or next to a wall for extra support initially.
5. Kitchen Bench Push Ups
We’ve all seen or done push ups at some point in our life. Now we are going to perform them on the kitchen bench. Start by placing your feet some distance away from the bench and hands on the edge. Keeping your tummy tight and body in a straight line slowly lower yourself down so that your chest is nearly touching the bench. Push yourself back up to the start position. If you’d like to make it easier start by using a wall!
Try adding these exercises to your daily routine and you will soon begin to notice what it’s like to live a healthy, mobile and active retirement. If you need further support or a more personalised targeted plan we suggest you contact us on 07 5456 1599 and make an appointment to speak to one of our aged care health experts.
WOULD YOU LIKE HELP WITH EXERCISING IN YOUR SENIOR YEARS?
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH ONE OF OUR EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGISTS
Sunshine and Cooloola Coasts
Wian van Heerden