Maintaining a physically active lifestyle is important for everyone, regardless of age. It is especially beneficial to seniors, who are more susceptible to various diseases. Aside from having a well-balanced diet, they also need to include exercise in their daily routines to stay healthy.
This is one of the most important concerns related to aged care that the Australian government is currently addressing. Through several studies and programs or guides on physical activity, the government is achieving its goal of encouraging older Australians to be active and helping them remain independent, boost their health, and improve their quality of life.
Muscling up against disability study
The federal government funded a two-year, $1.4 million study conducted by the University of Queensland and the Burnie Brae Centre. The participants in this study were Commonwealth aged care support recipients from Brisbane’s North, ages 65 to 92. They went through a 24-week progressive resistance and strength and balance training program, where they used machines to perform weight-bearing leg and chest, lower back, and balancing exercises.
The study yielded important positive results. The program helped the participants become stronger, have greater balance, and decrease their level of disability. It also showed reduced depression and anxiety among them. Moreover, the overall health care costs of the participants steadily reduced.
Other health benefits of exercise
Increased metabolism – Maintaining a healthy weight becomes harder as we age because our metabolism slows down. Exercising helps seniors increase their metabolism, burn calories, and maintain or lose weight.
Lower risk of disease
Regular physical activity improves the immune system; digestive, cardiovascular, and respiratory function; bone density; and blood pressure. Therefore, seniors who exercise regularly reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, chronic illness, and certain cancers.
Reduced risk of developing dementia
Exercising helps improve blood and oxygen flow to the brain. An older person who exercises will be less likely to suffer from memory loss, to experience difficulty in processing and standard problem solving, and to develop dementia.
Improved mood and confidence
It is common for seniors to feel sad, down, or demoralised. By being active or exercising, their body releases endorphins, which can make them feel good, happy, and confident.
By staying active and following an appropriate exercise program, seniors can reap numerous physical and mental health benefits.