Stay well! Regular exercises in later life improve health and wellness

Stay well! Regular exercises in later life improve health and wellness

As get older, our well-being is as important as it was when we were younger. Remaining active is good for our overall well-being, both our health and our happiness (1).

Regular activity can help us stay healthy, energetic and independent (2)(3). It can also help our thinking skills, lessen our aches and pains and boost our mood (1). Being active is also important for ensuring we stay in touch with our community, friends and neighbours (3).

We may not be as energetic or as mobile as we once were, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop being active. However you’re feeling right now, there are ways you can get moving. Let’s explore.

Getting active

There are lots of ways you can get active, and it's not just about exercising.

If you are currently inactive, start with small amounts of physical activity and increase duration, frequency and intensity gradually over time. Start by trying to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down during the day:

  • Avoid long periods sat in front of a TV or computer.
  • Avoid long periods sitting to read, talk or listen to music.
  • Stand up and move during TV advert breaks.
  • Stand or walk while you’re on the phone.

Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving, anything from walking and recreational sport to gardening and household chores (3).

  • Join in community activities, such as dance classes or walking groups.
  • Take up hobbies that will get you active, such as gardening or DIY.
  • Play with grandchildren, if you have them.

How much? How often?

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. Ideally, you should try to do something every day, preferably in bouts of 10 minutes of activity or more. One way of achieving 150 minutes of activity is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include: walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with few hills, playing doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower. Daily chores like shopping, cooking or housework do not count towards your 150 minutes because the effort is not hard enough to raise your heart rate, although they do help break up sedentary time.

In addition to your 150-minutes target, try to do some activities that work your muscles.
This can include: weight training, carrying heavy loads, heavy gardening. Find out how much activity older adults need to do to keep healthy.

As well as regular physical activity, try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down during the day. This means avoiding long periods of TV viewing, computer use, driving, or sitting to read, talk or listen to music.

Risks of inactivity

It may not always be easy to talk to our elders about the steps they can take to keep well, but it is important. Have you spoken to your parents – and even their parents – about getting a flu shot?


References
(1) https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/keep-well-this-winter/stay-healthy-in-winter/
(2) http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/pages/news/news/2015/10/no-to-influenza-vaccination-costs-thousands-of-lives
(3) https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/flu-prevention/

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