As we grow older we become more susceptible to chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia and cancers. Thankfully, we know that living an active lifestyle throughout ageing can help to greatly reduce the risk of these conditions occurring and impacting our quality of life in our later years. There are many different types of exercise and activity that provide everlasting physical, mental and social benefits.
Brain Health - Exercise helps increase the flow of oxygen to the brain and has been linked to improving brain health through improved memory, reaction time and ability to process information. There are now also strong links to exercise being vital to reduce the risk of dementia occuring during ageing.
Falls Prevention - Falls are one of the biggest causes for concern in older adults as 1 in 3 people over 65 years of age will have a fall each year. Exercise, including balance and strength based activities can assist with improving and maintaining balance and coordination during movement. These types of exercises can also help our body navigate unexpected obstacles that we come across in the community, such as dips in the footpath or strong gusts of wind.
Muscle and Bone Health - Resistance based exercises are also important to keep our muscles and bones strong throughout ageing. Maintaining muscle strength is super important to help with lifting and carrying movements which helps us enjoy activities such as gardening and playing with grandchildren. These types of exercises also help keep our bones strong, which is important to prevent fractures that often occur as a result of trips or falls.
Social Connection and Mental Health - Group based exercise and activity is also great to help us stay socially connected. While exercise alone can be beneficial to improve our mental wellbeing; group activities and classes can provide an even greater benefit to prevent social isolation and reduce loneliness. Re-engageing with our peers and increasing our social connection is as important as ever given the challenges we have faced in the previous 18 months.