Updated: Jan 21
A staggering 83 percent of people over the age of 65 do not meet the current physical activity recommendations, putting them at a high risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, heart problems, illness and even alzheimer's.
Movement and exercise can be intimidating, especially if it is something you haven’t done in a while or you’re in pain. It's important to ensure you are doing your exercises right so that you don't cause injury. Exercise is important on so many levels.
Not surprisingly research is indicating that for many illnesses and injuries exercise is actually beneficial. If you have a hospital visit these days there’s no lying around being waited on. The staff want you out of bed as soon as possible - walking the halls to get blood moving around your system and speed up recovery.
The link between lack of exercise and heart disease is well known, but you may be surprised to learn that reduced physical activity is actually a risk factor for alzheimer's and research shows that exercise can help prevent or slow the disease. The reason is that exercise can reduce levels of a protein called Beta Amyloid, this protein forms a plaque on the brain and is thought to be the main cause of alzheimer's disease.
Exercise, such as weight and resistance training has also shown to increase testosterone levels which has been shown to protect brain cells and prevent cognitive decline. A side effect of getting involved in a class or group exercise is social stimulation which is great for mental health and preventing decline.
Arthritis is a common condition that can make people nervous about moving, afraid it will cause further damage to joints or simply due to the pain. However regular exercise is actually a key tool in the management of arthritis, it improves muscle strength around the joint as well as reducing stiffness and preventing joint movement decline. Expert help is a must however as too much or too vigorous exercise can flare up the condition. Speaking with a professional who can guide you as to the type of exercise and how often is recommended.
Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions we see in the practice, and as great as massage is, our first piece of advice is to move. 80 percent of Australians will suffer lower back pain in their lifetime, but research has shown that exercise is the most successful treatment for it. For people who are not already physically active, any type of exercise is shown to reduce ongoing pain; walking, cycling, tai chi, yoga are all great. For those who are already active, you may need to work on something more targeted and specific for you. Our therapists are more than happy to recommend some basic exercises, or pass you on to one of our partners to assist you with something at a more active level.
This week is Exercise Right Week, run by Exercise and Sports Science Australia it is a public awareness campaign aimed at getting every Australian healthy, but particularly targeted at those with chronic conditions, illness and injury. Their tag line says it all "move more, age better" and it's something we all need to keep in mind, if not for our selves (just yet) but for others in our lives.
Visit the website for a host of resources and targeted advice for all.
Please speak to one of our therapists if you would like to increase your movement and are worried about existing injury, we are more than happy to assist.