Studies, carried out by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), show that seniors who are active are much more likely to live longer. Researchers concluded after a six-year period of study of just over 300 volunteers aged 70-82, any amount of regular activity was linked closely to a longer lifespan.
Those in the study who were the most active were 69% less likely to die than those who were less active. Those in the more active group burned, on average, about 600 calories more than those in the less active group.
600 calories burned equals about 2 hours’ worth of some type of physical activity. This does not mean having to work out at the gym, but rather any type of cumulative every-day physical activities such as washing the dishes, gardening, walking, or vacuuming.
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of physical activity per week and in a 2013 study Statistics Canada reported that only 1 out every 5 older adults perform the recommended amount per week.
If you know a senior who is currently less than active, you can encourage them to become more active by simply doing everyday things around their home, neighbourhood or by joining some exercise classes.
You might suggest some of the following activities:
- Walking the dog, if they don’t have one, perhaps even adopting a pet can have a further health benefit (companionship and being needed)
- Parking further away in the parking lot at the store
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Seniors swimming class
- Stationary cycling class
- Lawn bowling
- Pine Centre Mall has a walking program which is great in inclement weather as well as for safety
Did you know that after age 40 we lose about .5% -1% of skeletal bone mass. One in three women and one in five will experience a fracture due to a fall. Fractures can lead to other more serious health issues.
The reason I am bringing this up is not to discourage exercise, in fact, the opposite. Falls, are often a result of a loss of balance due to inactivity. Exercises that challenge balance have been known overall to prevent such falls. The above noted exercises will not only help to keep you or an older adult you know in better overall shape, but a variety in exercise can help challenge balance too helping you to react quicker on your feet.
For example, dancing, or changing walking patterns can help. You will want to work to stay on your feet, and always take precautions to reduce your risk of falling and progress your challenges slowly. Always wear appropriate footwear too.
A great way to start out is by doing balance challenges while watching TV or waiting for the kettle to boil. Forward back or side lunges are a great way to build strength and balance.
Before beginning any type of exercise routine, it is always a good idea to check in with your healthcare professional.
For more information: