Old age can severely limit our mobility, physical activity and overall quality of life. Our minds really wanted to exercise but our joints, bones and muscles say otherwise. We might break a hip or injure ourselves (and thereby make physical activity impossible). We want to do something to better ourselves but the outcomes could be much worse if we push too far.
Motion is lotion
However, motion is a requirement for healthy living especially for older adults. Some of the benefits of physical activity are:
- Helps to control weight, cholesterol and blood pressure (exercise smoothens blood flow)
- Helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers
- Helps to manage pain (improving pain threshold)
- Helps to control bone and joint problems such as arthritis and even helps to maintain and increase joint movement
In fact, physical activity even gets more vital as we age. We need to remind our own bodies what it feels to be young again by having some exercise. With some exercise a wide range of biochemical changes occurs in our bodies that may improve our insulin sensitivity, lower our triglyceride levels and even improve our psychological wellbeing (combination of biochemical changes and staying outdoors because of exercise).
Despite all the health benefits of exercise, some of us might be thinking that it’s already too late and useless because we’ll be facing the inevitable anytime soon. But consider this: Whether exercise can help prolong our lives or not, we might as well enjoy the years and that’s only possible if we’re still mobile and active.
Exercising at 60 and beyond
But then, what’s the appropriate level of physical activity for people age 60 and older? In general we only need aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Daily 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (e.g. walking fast, ballroom dancing, pushing a lawn mower) is good enough to raise our heart rates and initiate beneficial biochemical changes. On the other hand, two or three times a week of strength exercises is already enough.
Before you initiate your exercise routine though, it’s best to consult a doctor first especially if you have chronic pain in your hip, neck, knees and back (or the whole body actually). When it comes to those types of pain, many doctors and medical specialists refer their patients to us here at Wellers Hill and Woolloongabba Physiotherapy. Our goal is to help people recover from pain and injuries so that patients can enjoy a more active lifestyle (contact us today for more information).
It’s never too late to start exercising. Aside from improving your physical health, you also get to enjoy more of the outdoors and life. Movement is a necessity to enable and sustain life and this is true no matter how old we are.