About half of the physical decline associated with ageing may be due to a lack of physical activity. Without regular exercise, people over the age of 50 years can experience a range of health problems including:
- Reduced muscle mass, strength and physical endurance
- Reduced coordination and balance
- Reduced joint flexibility and mobility
- Reduced cardiovascular and respiratory function
- Reduced bone strength
- Increased body fat levels
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased susceptibility to mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of various diseases including cardiovascular disease and stroke. (1)
"You could argue that physical activity is even more important as you age, considering the role exercise can play in slowing the common physical characteristics of aging," said Cityfit General Manager Alisha Pollard.
"Unfortunately though, the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics survey found tat only 47% of Australian adults over 65 participate in any form of sports or recreation (2)," said Alisha.
"The good news is, it's never too late to start to exercise!" she said, "and in addition the benefits of exercise will be felt fairly quickly."
Alisha explained that when you start to exercise muscle mass will increase, speeding your metabolism, joints will become more supple from regular movement and the oxygen boost that exercise delivers to your brain will, in time, make it sharper.
"I think the participation rates in exercise for this older age group are so low because they grew up in a time when people didn't really have to think about being active. Their lives were physical by default, said Alisha. "Simple things like doing the washing by hand, cleaning with fewer chemicals and they walked more because they felt safer in their environment," she added.
"Today older people enjoy the same conveniences we all do, though they are not necessarily confident in trying the different physical activities now available. You could argue that's because they weren't common place activities when they were younger, which is usually the time when you try out new things (particularly physical activities)."
"We see this all the time at Cityfit, people coming to the gym for the first time in their 50's, 60's or 70's and doing classes or exercises they didn’t even know existed!" said Alisha.
Cityfit has fitness programs specifically designed for the needs of older people, catering for all fitness levels, while providing a social and encouraging environment.
"We work very hard to help our members feel supported and confident when they exercise so they can establish new healthy habits in their life," added Alisha.
"It's so rewarding to see a member's mind-set shift from hesitant, to a proud participant that now makes their health a priority and enjoys the benefits of a more active lifestyle," said Alisha.
Seniors Week is a great time to make a start - and get moving again. For more information about membership for Seniors at Cityfit call 6331 4344 or visit them at 106 Rankin St Bathurst.
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2013-14