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Ageing and Exercise: Maintaining Your Independence

As we progress through life, it becomes increasingly important to prioritise our physical well-being, especially as we age, to maintain a high quality of life. Regular exercise plays a pivotal role in promoting healthy aging by preserving mobility and independence. In this article, we will explore the scientific evidence from systematic reviews to highlight the benefits of exercise in counteracting the age-related decline in physical function.

Senior Dancing

WHY IS EXERCISE IMPORTANT AS WE AGE?


Preserving Muscle Mass and Strength

A key concern associated with aging is the loss of muscle mass and strength, a process known as sarcopenia. However, numerous systematic reviews have presented compelling evidence that exercise, particularly resistance training, can effectively counteract these age-related declines. Engaging in resistance exercises at least two to three times per week has been consistently shown to increase muscle mass, improve muscle strength, and enhance overall physical function in older adults.


Improving Balance and Reducing Falls

Falls are a major health risk among older individuals, often leading to fractures and a subsequent loss of independence. Systematic reviews consistently indicate that exercise interventions that incorporate balance training can significantly reduce the risk of falls in older adults. Activities such as tai chi, yoga, and specific balance exercises have demonstrated promising results in improving balance, stability, and gait performance, ultimately reducing the incidence of falls.


Flexibility and Mobility

In addition to resistance training and balance exercises, it's essential to maintain flexibility and mobility. Activities like stretching, yoga, and pilates can help older adults maintain and improve joint flexibility, reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing overall physical function.


Senior Yoga

Enhancing Cardiovascular Health

Regular aerobic exercise has long been recognised as a cornerstone of cardiovascular health. Systematic reviews have confirmed that engaging in moderate-intensity aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, can improve cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases among older adults. Additionally, it has been shown to enhance the efficiency of the heart, leading to improved overall heart health.


Maintaining Bone Density

Osteoporosis, characterised by reduced bone mineral density, increases the risk of fractures and can severely impact the mobility and independence of older individuals. Systematic reviews consistently demonstrate that weight-bearing exercises, including walking, jogging, and resistance training, can help maintain and even increase bone density, effectively reducing the risk of osteoporotic fractures. Such exercises stimulate the bones to adapt and become stronger, promoting skeletal health.


Senior Stretching Before A Run


Cognitive Function and Mental Wellbeing

Exercise not only benefits physical health but also plays a significant role in maintaining cognitive function and mental well-being. Systematic reviews indicate that regular physical activity, particularly aerobic exercise, can enhance cognitive performance, memory, and attention in older adults. Furthermore, exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and age-related neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, exercise is known to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, thus improving overall mental well-being in older adults.


The evidence from systematic reviews is resoundingly clear—exercise is a powerful tool for healthy aging. By engaging in regular physical activity, older adults can preserve muscle mass and strength, improve balance and stability, enhance cardiovascular health, maintain bone density, and promote cognitive function and mental well-being. Exercise empowers individuals to maintain their mobility and independence, enabling them to lead fulfilling and active lives as they gracefully age. It is never too late to start reaping the benefits of exercise, so let us prioritize our physical well-being and embrace an active lifestyle for a healthier and happier future.


KEYS TO SAFELY EMBRACING AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE

There are several factors you should consider as an older person to ensure you remain safe during any new or regular exercise program.


Customise Your Exercise Program

As we age, it becomes crucial to tailor our exercise programs to suit our individual abilities and preferences. Consulting with one of our accredited exercise physiologists can help you design a personalised exercise routine that addresses your specific needs and medical conditions. By customising your exercise plan, you can ensure that it is safe, effective, and enjoyable, making it easier to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.


Exercise Physiologist Home Visit Sunshine Coast

Importance of Regularity

Consistency is key when it comes to reaping the benefits of exercise. Establishing a regular exercise routine and staying committed to it is essential for maintaining your health and mobility. Remember that even short bouts of exercise can be beneficial, and every bit of physical activity contributes to your overall well-being.


Staying Hydrated

As you engage in physical activity, it's important to be mindful of staying hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, reduced performance, and an increased risk of falls. Make sure to drink enough water before, during, and after exercise to keep your body properly hydrated. This is especially important in the Queensland summer.


Safety Measures

Your safety is a top priority when exercising. To prevent injuries and ensure a positive exercise experience, consider using proper footwear, exercising on even surfaces, and, if needed, using assistive devices. Always listen to your body and modify exercises if necessary.


Mind-Body Practices

In addition to physical exercise, incorporating mind-body practices can have significant benefits for your overall well-being. Activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness can help reduce stress and enhance mental well-being, complementing the positive effects of your exercise routine.


Senior meditation on SUP

Regular Health Checkups

Regular health checkups are vital to monitor your physical condition and ensure that your exercise program aligns with your specific health status. Consulting with your healthcare provider can help you stay informed about any adjustments needed for your exercise routine to keep you safe and healthy as you age.

By following these recommendations you can enjoy the many benefits of exercise to live a long and independent life. Remember, it's never too late to prioritise your physical well-being and embrace an active lifestyle for a healthier and happier future. Call us today on 5456 1599 and arrange an appointment with an exercise physiologist to help get you started and stay motivated.




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