Exercise is more important when you reach the later stages of life than when you take them for granted in your teens and twenties.
In fact, according to Federal Health Department guidelines, there are benefits in being active over 60. Just a slight increase in activity each day can improve your health and wellbeing.
It can help reduce the risk of health issues, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, bone and joint problems, heart disease and some cancers.
Seniors should aim to get enough exercise because it helps to:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce the risk of falls and injury
- Give you more energy
- Improve your sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Improve concentration
- Improve your mental health
University of Southern Queensland Senior Lecturer in Public Health Dr Paul Gardiner told Local Ipswich News that seniors should move more and sit less.
“There has been a number of studies that have found this,” he said.
“The studies found that seniors are moving less. Much of the messaging around COVID is that it will affect older people more, so they’ve been going out less, plus lockdowns didn’t help.
“In terms of the general adult population everyone has been moving less, and staying home more.
“Some of this is also related to how people have changed their routines. They haven’t been able to – or are scared to – go out and do their regular activities such as the shopping. If that is their main way they get their exercise, it really adds up.”
Dr Gardiner hopes we are nearing the end of the pandemic, and hopefully routines can get back to normal after a life-changing 24 months.
“The message has been ‘stay home’, so I’d like to see that message change to ‘find ways to be active’, and ‘resume your life safely’,” he said.
“The findings of the Royal Commission showed that aged care in many places has been in a bad way for a long time, and the pandemic hasn’t helped that.
“The pandemic is far from being over, and we need to get to older people to change their routine, improve their activity levels.
“If they think of three spaces. One is at home, one is at work, and that third one should be somewhere where you interact with people, be social. That’s really important, to have that space.
“There is no short fix to this issue of being active.
“We all need to think longer term.
“There’s a number of things we can do, and making better use of technology has to be one of them.
“Using it to connect with family and friends is a given, but we can also use that get them off the couch and moving.
“We know that if you don’t use it, you lose it, so it’s important to do what they can do in a safe environment.
“One other thing is to talk to the residents and ask them what they want to do to move more, and how can we help?”
For more guidelines and tips on movement in your senior years visit: www.health.gov.au