Studies show that fitness levels naturally begin a slow decline after our 20s and fall rapidly once we reach our 70s. Age-related muscle loss is also a natural part of aging. We begin to lose as much as 3 to 5 percent per decade after 30. Less muscle means greater weakness and less mobility.
Many older people believe that exercise is no longer appropriate. Some of the common misconceptions that prompt older people to abandon physical activity include:
- Older people are frail and physically weak.
- The human body doesn’t need as much physical activity as it ages.
- Exercising is hazardous for older people because they may injure themselves.
- Only vigorous and sustained exercise is of any use.
These common beliefs are not supported by research. There is good evidence to show that regular exercise can compensate for some of these natural losses and help our bodies feel years younger. Not only that, but physical activity can improve our health and wellbeing and make it easier to perform daily tasks.
The Ministry of Health recommendations for those aged over 65 years are:
- Take regular breaks from sitting;
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity on five days each week; and
- Include lots of resistance, flexibility and balance activities.
Falls and fractures are a common cause of injury and hospital admission especially in older adults. Physical activities that improve strength and balance can make a positive difference.
The Live Stronger for Longer website has lots of great free resources relating to strength and balance activities, including links to local accredited Strength and Balance exercise classes. Check it out!
These five senior stories will inspire you to get moving - for an extra boost of motivation (Sunrise Senior Living).
Remember that it’s never too late to start! Speak to your GP before starting or increasing physical activity. Start off slowly and build up to the recommended daily physical activity levels.
Mauri tū mauri ora – an active soul is a healthy soul.
Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) is coming up - running from 27th September to 3rd October! This year's theme is take time to kōrero - mā te kōrero, ka ora.
A little chat can go a long way and staying connected has never been more important in the current COVID-19 situation.
Active Canterbury on Facebook has the latest local events and happenings on physical activity.
Here are some snippets on the latest physical activity research or news that we found interesting.
New research says regular exercise can help slow the progression to Alzheimer's disease as well as improve the heart and brain.
ExerciseNZ has endorsed new research which shows physical activity and good sleep work together to counter negative health effects of poor sleep.
Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced how $5.7 million will be allocated to create better quality experiences for disabled tamariki and rangatahi.
The Active Canterbury Newsletter is produced bi-monthly and aims to keep local physical activity providers informed. It has a focus on latest physical activity research, upcoming education and training opportunities, key events and tips on how to practically apply research and industry tools.
View the latest newsletter: AC Network Newsletter: September-October 2021