Seminar on staying active and independent after 60.
Topics we will cover:
– Staying active
– Maintaining balance
– Benefits of exercise
– Managing injuries
The physical decline of older age.
Without regular exercise, people over the age of 60 years can experience a range of health problems including:
- About half of the physical decline associated with ageing may be due to a lack of physical activity.
- Reduced muscle mass, strength and physical endurance
- Reduced coordination and balance
- Reduced joint flexibility and mobility
- Reduced cardiovascular and respiratory function
- Reduced bone strength
- Increased body fat levels
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased susceptibility to mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of various diseases including cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Some of the common misconceptions that prompt older people to stop or avoid physical activity can include:
- Older people are frail and physically weak.
- The human body doesn’t need as much physical activity as we age.
- Exercising is hazardous for older people because they may injure themselves.
- Only vigorous and sustained exercise is of any use.
Benefits of regular exercise for older people include:
Muscle – the amount and size of muscle fibres decreases with age. The muscle fibres that seem to be the most affected are those of the ‘fast twitch’ (phasic) variety and these muscle fibres are related to strength. There is evidence to suggest that these changes are related to a sedentary lifestyle, rather than age. The good news is muscle mass can increase in the older person after regularly exercising for a relatively short period of time therefore adding in strength, movement, and increased balance.
Bone – Older people are more prone to bone fractures as they age. Bone density begins to decline after the age of 40, but this loss accelerates around the age of 50 years. Exercise can help to reduce the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises helps to keep bones healthy and strong.
Heart and lungs – Regardless of age, people can improve their cardiorespiratory fitness through regular exercise. As we age moderate intensity exercise is the most favourable, safe and effective way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness. Exercising around 70 per cent of the individual’s maximum heart rate is generally safe and beneficial. Whilst cardiorespiratory fitness takes longer to achieve and improve in an older person than a young person, the physical benefits are similar.
Joints – We were not designed to stay still. The joints of the body require regular movement to remain supple and healthy. Most of the elderly population benefit from regular movement and exercise. Aerobic and strengthening exercise programs are generally appropriate. They need to be implemented based on age, illness, current fitness condition and levels of independence patients want to maintain.
Body fat levels – Carrying too much body fat has many disadvantages. Being overweight is associated with a range of diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and increases the risk of strokes. Regular exercise helps to maintain weight, increases muscle mass, speeds up metabolism and helps with overall well-being.
Balance – Balance disorders are one of the most common reasons people over 60 years of age visit a healthcare provider. Exercise has been proven to help improve and maintain balance.
Researchers have found that the following exercise routines and strategies can improve balance and reduce the risk of falling:
- Tai Chi, dance, postural awareness, or yoga programs.
- Gait training (programs to improve the way you walk).
- Strengthening and resistance exercises, including aerobic and resistance training in water.
- Vestibular rehabilitation therapy. This is a special program of exercises and activities designed to retrain your body and brain to work together to optimize balance
Independence – A healthy lifestyle encourages independence through fighting decline. Diet and regular exercise are central pieces of the puzzle in maintaining levels of independence the elderly.