Exercise & Ageing

Sarcopenia can affect anyone from the age of 40 but might not show it's real signs until later years. Accredited Exercise Physiologist Matthew Hollings specialises in this area and took some time out to keep us up to date. If you were to explain Sarcopenia to a person on the street, how would you? Sarcopenia is the age-related decline in muscle mass, which typically sees a 3-5% loss in muscle mass each decade from age 30. We still aren’t entirely sure what causes it; whether it is the lack of muscle stimulation from physical inactivity, or the inability of the nervous system...

Strength training is an important and beneficial type of activity that should be undertaken at nearly every stage of our lifespan.   A lot of the time when people think of “strength” or “resistance” training they associate it with either images of big bulky, Arnold Schwarzenegger look-a-likes or elite athletes. However, this is not always the case. With inactivity comes muscle deterioration and weakening. This same process also occurs as we get older, a process referred to as sarcopenia which is age related decline of muscle tissue. Once we reach approximately thirty years of age muscle tissue and bone mineral density begin to...

“I used to be able to do that” - What if you could?   When you do the things you love is your body feeling sore? Does it come with a complaint from your knees or back? Have you ever noticed you change the way you do things or completely avoid an activity because it is getting too much, or it is painful?   Have you accepted these changes as a normal part of ageing? Limited movement is not an everyday part of ageing; you do not need to have those constant aches and pains. Of course, there are natural consequences of ageing, however implementing strategies...

Mary* is living with Osteoporosis; Osteoarthritis in shoulders, knees and hands; Type 2 Diabetes; Hypertension; High Cholesterol; and Asthma.   Mary was referred for in-home exercise physiology services through a six week Home Independence Program. In the past, she had participated in community exercise classes and walked regularly but had lost her motivation. Needs and client goals Mary was fiercely independent and wanted to stay that way. She had a positive attitude and knew that physical activity was the key to remaining independent. She was worried that she wouldn’t get out of her rut and didn’t want her health and independence to suffer as...

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...

Arthritis affects 3.85 million Australians, and is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia. It is an umbrella term for more than 100 medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints. In Australia, there have been high growth rates reported particularly for hip and knee surgeries, according to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Surgery in Australian hospitals 2010-11. Almost 23% of all surgical procedures in Australia in 2010-11 were procedures on the musculoskeletal system, with one of the most common reasons for hospitalisation being knee disorders. Whilst arthritis isn’t curable, it is manageable. Research...

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...