The Benefits of Exercise for Older People

Although exercise and physical activity are among the healthiest things you can do for yourself, some older adults are reluctant to exercise. Some are afraid that exercise will be too hard or that physical activity will harm them. Adults aged 65 and over spend on average 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down. This makes them the most sedentary age group. Others might think they have to join a gym or have special equipment. However, studies show that "taking it easy" is risky. Generally, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn't happen just because they've aged - it's usually because they're not active.

Activities such as swimming and jogging increase the heart rate, and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is one way to achieve an active lifestyle. By making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your life, it can improve your health and help you maintain your independence as you age. Additionally, group activities are a great way of meeting new people.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health, inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are more active. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalisations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.

Scientists have found that staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities. In some cases, exercise is an effective treatment for many chronic conditions. For example, studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, mobility difficulty and managing moods to maintain a positive outlook.

It is clear that exercise has many benefits, both mental and physical. The older people in our communities want to stay increasingly independent and easy steps can be taken in order to maintain a healthy, active and independent lifestyle. (Author: Bella Brown)