Why older people should exercise

Live well for longer

How age affects health of your ageing parent

From stiff joints to memory loss to the heart, there is so much for us to consider as our parents and relatives age

Due to advanced medical technology and improved knowledge of health and well-being, average life expectancy has risen to 80 years old, eight years higher than in the 1970s

This means it is even more important to stay mobile with age

Many of the elderly’s physiological changes can be exacerbated by sedentary lifestyles:

  • The cardiovascular system undergoes a 20 to 30% decrease in cardiac output by the age of 65
  • Oxygen uptake decreases by approximately 9% for sedentary men and 5% for sedentary women per decade.
  • The muscular system undergoes a 40% loss of muscle mass and 30% decrease in strength by the age of 70. The lower body is more affected by the change than the upper body

It’s easy to stay immobile these days!

In post-war Britain, we were at our healthiest. During the last 50 years, our parents have striven to rebuild and create a better world for us to live in

The journey has been interesting and full of change, for what in many ways is for the better, such as convenience food and a faster pace of life

However, cars, trains and buses carry us round and even the need to walk to the television to change channels has been taken away with remote controls

Legs are under-used,  the heart is under-exercised and diet is compromised by unhealthy food choices

Our lives are almost weight-bearing free

How exercise can help your older parent stay fit and healthy

Mature adults who maintain high levels of cardio vascular endurance strength and flexibility are less likely to be dependent on long term care

Strength and flexibility exercises may prevent falls and injuries by improving balance and mobility

Improved muscle strength helps individuals function independently

Exercise is associated with better mental health, as it promotes:

  • effective stress management
  • fewer sleep disorders
  • reduced loneliness
  • lowered depression and anxiety
  • joint strength and mobility, which helps to keep bone density high, particularly important for bone diseases, such as osteoporosis and inflammation
  • Maintains permeability and flexibility of all cells, promoting strong hair, nails and healthy skin

Physical fitness is more important than weight loss for protecting the ageing heart. Exercise:

  • Reduces risk of heart disease or stroke
  • Is linked  to the prevention of some cancers
  • Is proven to reduce and maintain normal blood pressure levels, therefore reducing the use of drugs and their associated side effects
  • Helps to maintain healthy heart arteries
  • Helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Helps reduce obesity levels and type II diabetes

Exercise options for your Ageing Parent

Healthy doesn’t have to be humdrum.  It should not be a task, but a way of life and it’s never too late to change.

Studies have shown that we create muscle by working with resistance and weights at the same level, whether we are in our youth, mid and later years.

The key is little and often, rather than all at once and also doing a variety of different exercise regimes, which puts less stress on the body than just one

The Fitness Consultancy founder and director Stella Nash has been involved in the health and fitness industry from an early age, having herself been a dancer, gymnast and athlete. Stella is a well-known and sought after instructor at a number of top London and Home Counties health clubs and she now has established Pilates and yoga studios within Watford, St Albansand Radlett. Stella Nash can be contacted at info@tfcstudio1.com www.tfcstudio1.com



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