Longevity Exercise Physiology and Personal Training Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwickPymble, and Balmain today discuss the role of exercise in assisting with healthy ageing.

Getting older is unfortunately a fact of life that we cannot change, however, we can change how we age. As we get older, we know we are prone to sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass,) decrease in bone mineral density and increase risk of developing dementia, osteoarthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Regular physical activity works wonders for reducing our risk of developing and managing these conditions. So, if you’re looking to maintain your youth and independence, it’s time to get moving.

Shockingly, in 2017-2018 69% of women and 75% of men did not meet the aerobic component of the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines. Even more concerning, 83% of men and 85% of women did not meet the strength component of the Guidelines. Some estimates suggest roughly half of physical decline associated with age may be due to lack of physical activity. So, if we improved the above statistics, you can imagine how that could dramatically ease the burden of an ageing population on the Australian Health Care system.

So why are so many of our older Australian adults not moving enough? There is a common misconception amongst some that it may be ‘too late’ for them to see significant strength and fitness benefits from regular exercise. False!

So why are so many of our older Australian adults not moving enough? There is a common misconception amongst some that it may be ‘too late’ for them to see significant strength and fitness benefits from regular exercise. False! Various studies have shown its never too late to get fit. No matter what your age, the human body responds the same to exercise. However, it is important what exercise principles you implement in your training to optimise adaptations. This is where our Longevity Exercise Physiologists can help you by prescribing an individualised exercise program designed to have the most potent effect.

So what type of exercise do we tend to recommend for elderly adults? One of the main concerns we often see in our elderly clients is the fear of falling and balance. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3-8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. We also see a steep increase in the decline of our bone mineral density, especially in post-menopausal women. This means our bones become more brittle and more susceptible to fractures. This gradual loss of strength and function combine with decrease in bone mineral density is a large contributor to disability, as sarcopenia leads to an increased risk in falls and resulting injury. Resistance training plays a huge role in building muscle mass, maintaining our bone mineral density and decreasing insulin resistance, which is protective against diabetes. A decrease in muscle mass can also be accompanied by an increase in fat mass, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So, by engaging in regular strength training not only will you see improvements in your function and strength but will also reduce your risk of developing chronic metabolic illness such.

Do not forget though there are two components to the Physical Activity Guidelines, strength training AND cardiovascular exercise. The guidelines recommend minimum 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. Simply walking 5 times a week for 30 minutes at a moderate speed ticks this box. If this does not seem realistic for you, there are plenty of different modalities in which you can engage in aerobic exercise including the bike and the pool. It may be a good idea to consult one of our Longevity Exercise Physiologists if you are unsure.

So instead of searching the web for the secret to eternal youth, start exercising! You can contact  Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Pymble, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain, Bella Vista on 1300 964 002 to enquire today.

References

Staying Physically Active. (2021). Retrieved from Physical Acttivity Australia: https://www.physicalactivityaustralia.org.au/healthy-ageing-staying-physically-active/#:~:text=About%20half%20of%20the%20physical%20decline%20associated%20with%20ageing%20may,Reduced%20coordination%20and%20balance

Insufficient Physical Activity. (2020, October ). Retrieved from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/risk-factors/insufficient-physical-activity/contents/insufficient-physical-activity

Written by Georgia Wassall