If you’re aged 65 or older, it can be increasingly difficult to exercise. But being active on a regular basis is a proven factor in reducing the risk among older adults of high blood pressure, chronic disease, and our overall risk of heart disease.

The benefits of physical activity have long been proven for all age groups: increasing our heart rate through regular exercise improves muscle strength, not just in the heart, but around our whole body.

Regular physical activity can delay or even remove our risk of developing long-term chronic health problems such as Type II Diabetes. The health benefits of engaging in moderately intense exercise two to three times a week are pretty intense - not just for the elderly, but, specifically among those of us who are older it will have very impactful health benefits.

Aerobic exercise at least once a week will reduce our risk of falls and improve our balance. If it’s possible to manage it, strength training once a week can produce improvements in functional movements and muscle strength within the body.

Main benefits of exercise for the elderly

  • A longer life. Even if it’s only gentle exercise like walking or swimming, providing it’s on a regular (weekly) basis, it can increase a lifespan by up to 5 years.

  • Less likely to fall. Improved balance and coordination through exercise means slips, trips and falls are far less likely to happen. In fact, the World Health Organisation estimated that regular exercise can reduce the chance of suffering a hip fracture by as much as 40%.

  • Greatly reduced risk of heart attack/stroke. It’s a proven fact that regular cardio exercise - which includes walking, housework and even doing the gardening - increases blood flow to the heart and improves overall heart health.

  • Improved bone density. Walking, aerobics and some forms of strength training can increase bone strength and reduce the risk of developing either fractures or osteoporosis.

  • Reduced risk of dementia. A sedentary life in later years is one of the key risk factors in developing dementia. So remaining active on a regular basis as long as possible is advantageous for our brains as well as our bodies.

  • Delay or even prevent diseases. Many chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol, can be kept at bay or even reversed by regular exercise.

What activity levels should people over 65 aim for?

Although we may be slower, we can still be physically active in our older years. According to medical professionals, adults over 65 should, on a weekly basis, aim to:

  • Be physically active every single day, even if it’s just a few minutes of light activity - making a cup of tea, doing a bit of housework, generally moving around rather than sitting all day.

  • Do formal exercise activities at least 2 days a week - something like aerobics, swimming or very basic strength (gym) training.

  • Do at least 150 total minutes of moderately intensive activity each week.

What activity counts as moderately intensive activity?

This is things that will physically have us up and moving around. To count towards your target of 150 minutes per week (30 minutes per day, five days a week), the things that count are:

  • Walking - either outside or on a treadmill

  • Gentle swimming

  • Gentle aerobics or water aerobics

  • Dancing - including ballroom dancing

  • Doubles tennis or badminton

  • Riding a bike

  • Hiking or gentle hill walking

  • Pushing a lawnmower

What is moderately intensive activity?

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, but not enough so that talking becomes difficult. A good rule of thumb is if talking is fine but singing is difficult, then you’re at moderate activity levels.

Although it can be said to become more difficult to maintain an active lifestyle as we get older, for most of us the reality of 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week should actually be easily achievable.

Find an activity you love in your local area, and sign up to begin taking classes. From indoor bowls to ballroom dancing to OAP aerobics, your local village hall or sports centre will absolutely have classes that you can join.

Remember, if you are struggling with your mobility and/or balance, seek professional medical advice before beginning any new exercise or health regime.

Start planning your future. Speak to us today.

Contact Us

Seventy Financial Planning
The Apple Store, Haggs Farm,
Haggs Road, Follifoot, Harrogate,
HG3 1EQ

01423 611004

[email protected]

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