Staying active as we get older!
Anyone, at any age, can benefit from being active.
As we get older, being active can:
- Help maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints (less pain with arthritis).
- Help those with chronic conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength.
- Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and help our mood and feelings of wellbeing.
- Reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
- Enable social connection with others.
- Reduce risk of dying from coronary heart disease and developing diabetes or colon cancer.
Many people continue to be active as they move into adulthood, however for most of us, there is often a long list of reasons for not being active enough including:
- I don’t have time
- I’m too tired
- I’m not sporty
- I have a health issue that might get worse.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Here are some things to consider:
Being physically active does not mean you have to be exercising strenuously or playing sport! Adults can obtain significant health benefits with daily moderate amounts of physical activity such as walking or shorter sessions of more vigorous activity (such as stair walking).
But find something you enjoy doing. If you don’t like walking, then swim, dance or whatever makes you happy.
Many chronic conditions can improve with exercise too, not get worse. Ask your local doctor, they can provide advice.
Evidence shows that if you plan for being active, you are more likely to follow it through, so grab your diary and block out specific times for activities – can you go for a walk at lunchtime at work?
Connect with a friend and include them in your plans – it is more likely you will be active if someone else is depending on you.
Or, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier a few times a week and go for a walk or do some balance or strengthening exercises.
Just be active – you don’t need to join a gym, lift heavy weights or run. Even increasing your incidental activity is a great start. Can you walk to the bus stop instead of driving? Walk around the shops? Do some gardening?
Making it happen
Ask your local doctor about your plans to return to being more active, then think about what you enjoy doing, then PLAN to make a start. Don’t set unrealistic goals, start small and increase over time. For example, on Monday, I will do a 10 minute walk after each meal.
- Kell K, Rula E., (2019) Increasing exercise frequency is associated with health and quality-of-life benefits for older adults’ Quality of Life Research, v. 28 (12), pp. 3267-72
- Lin YH, Chen YC, Tseng YC, Tsai ST, Tseng YH. (2020) Physical activity and successful aging among middle-aged and older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Aging. Apr 29;12(9):7704-7716. doi: 10.18632/aging.103057.
- Department of Health. Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. Canberra, Australia: Department of Health; 2014 [updated 2017].
Last updated: March 7, 2023 at: 2:59 pm