Exercise & Ageing

Being physically active is important for all ages, and that importance doesn't diminish as we get older, but our activity levels tend to.   The Australian population is ageing, and with older age comes greater incidence of chronic illness and disease. More than three-quarters of Australians aged over 65 years have at least one chronic condition and chronic disease is a leading cause of disability in older adults. Research shows that just 30 minutes a day of physical activity can have numerous benefits, including delaying many chronic, age associated physical and cognitive declines, but being active as we get older may seem challenging. Here's...

Staying physically active is the single most important thing we can do to stay well and independent- (NSW Health, 2013).   As people age, exercise may become daunting, especially post joint replacement or after years of sedentary behaviour. People may not know the safest way to start with a routine, they may be weary of their balance deteriorating and they may be living with chronic pain. Balance exercises are paramount for all individuals; but become increasingly important to reduce the risk of falls in the elderly.   Every year 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will have a fall Falls are...

Exercise and Bone Density   Regular physical activity and exercise plays a vital role in maintaining and optimizing bone density throughout life and as we age.   The specific goals of exercising for bone health continuously change throughout life; from building maximum bone strength in childhood and adolescence to reducing bone loss and optimising quality of life in old age. For the elderly, the focus is on prevention of sarcopenia (muscle wasting) and addressing risk factors for frailty and falls, particularly difficulties in balance, walking ability and mobility. Bone strength effectively can be addressed through different types of exercise.  Bones ultimately become stronger...

It is well documented that exercise is vital for keeping our bodies in good shape! Exercise is great for our heart and lung health, promotes optimal cholesterol levels and blood pressure, reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and keeps our waistlines in check.  What is less talked about is how great exercise is for our brains. Brain health is vital for reducing risk factors associated with the development of conditions such as dementia. Dementia is a degenerative brain condition that affects almost 1 in 10 Australians over the age of 65 and 3 in 10 over the...

One training component is often forgotten about, especially amongst the elderly population. That component is of course progressive overload - the most important variable to continue to make adaptations to ones training program.   When trying to prescribe or participate in the most effective training program, the goal is to manipulate the training variables (frequency, intensity, volume, rest period, tempo, and exercise selection) to create the most optimal adaptations for the individuals goals. When done correctly, the individual is almost guaranteed to get results leading them closer to their goal. However, one component is often forgotten about, especially amongst the elderly population. That...

Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Carly Ryan, answers your questions about swimming for older adults.   What are some of the benefits of swimming for older Australians?   Swimming is a great activity for cardiovascular health, and comes with all the benefits of exercise including improved heart health, flexibility, muscle tone, weight management along with mental health benefits such as improved mood. What is less well known is that water provides natural resistance, so swimming provides muscle strength and balance benefits as well.   How important is the low impact element of swimming for older people?   Swimming is often a great choice for those with injuries, pain or conditions such...

  You are 72 years of age, suffer from shoulder pain and type 2 diabetes, and can no longer drive or carry your grandchild without pain. A friend has recommended an exercise program that they attend at the local senior community centre, but you’re not sure it can help you. Here’s why you should try it.   Regular physical activity is essential for staying healthy as we age, but older adults are often reluctant to exercise due to physical limitations, safety concerns and accessibility issues. More than two-thirds of Australians aged over 65 years are not performing enough exercise to reduce their risk...

It's estimated that roughly 30-40% of people will experience knee osteoarthritis as they age with a higher proportion affected being women.   A recent World Health Organisation report on the global burden of disease indicates that knee osteoarthritis is likely to become the fourth most important global cause of disability in women and the eighth most important in men.   Although there are many treatment options available for treating knee osteoarthritis, early intervention of non-invasive, exercise based treatment can lead to improved quality of life, reduced pain & disability and may even prevent knee osteoarthritis altogether. Take the Exercise Right quiz and find out how...

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects up to 1% of the Australian population and is one of the most common types of arthritis in the community.   Our immune system normally focuses on fighting bacteria and keeping us well, but in Rheumatoid Arthritis it goes in the wrong direction resulting in inflammation to the lining of different joints. Patients often describe swelling, pain, and stiffness. All of this means that sometimes people who live with RA are unsure if exercise is a good idea, and in fact, is probably the last thing they feel like doing! Well, the right type and amount of exercise IS...

As an Accredited Exercise Physiologist the most common question from my clients is: "Should I exercise now that I have arthritis - and if so, what type and how much is good for me"?   Fortunately, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. Find out how to Exercise Right for Arthritis. The benefits of exercise for arthritis   Extensive research suggests that exercising correctly has many benefits for those with arthritis. Although it is a degenerative condition, targeted and specific exercise offers a way in which we can potentially slow the process down and keep our clients best able to do the things they want to...