Physical activity for Older Adults, A guide to getting started, reducing the risk of falls and getting the most out of life!

Remaining active as we get older is important because it increases quality of life, and decreases risk and suffering from medical conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, depression, musculoskeletal problems, some cancers, and decreases mortality rates.

What medical conditions will benefit from increasing my physical activity?
People experiencing conditions associated with aging like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis that already are experiencing declines in strength, physical endurance, and balance are set to benefit significantly from increasing physical activity. So many people are often afraid of increasing physical activity as they age, however it has actually been proven to reduce your risk of falling.

How much exercise should I be doing as an older adult?
Around 25 percent of people over the age of 50 and around 35 percent of people over the age of 75 report no leisure time physical activity. It is recommended that adults complete a minimum of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, and at least 2 session of muscle strengthening activities each week. This significantly reduces the burden of diseases mentioned above.

As an older adult how do I start participating in physical activity?
The current concept is that any amount of physical activity is better than none.

Try applying these simple tips to increase your activity!
– Get up to break up long periods of sitting.
– When cleaning or carrying groceries take multiple trips carrying bags.
– Have allocated times where you have to get up and move.
– Walk around when talking on your mobile phone.
– Stand up and move watching TV shows.
– Listen to recorded books while you walk, clean, or work in the garden instead of sitting.

Otherwise have an allocated time to be physically active each day. This might be exercise in the form of walking with friends, resistance training in a group, dancing, swimming and the list goes on..

What should I do if I’m worried about starting physical activity?
If you want to condition yourself towards an activity goal or have any barriers to physical activity like confidence in safety, health concerns, or you would really just like some guidance, get in contact with your trusted physiotherapist who can assess and create a physical activity plan for you and what you want to achieve!

Written by:
Ryan Michell,
Physiotherapist,
Proactive Health & Movement

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