Written By: Helen O’Keefe
Exercise should be such a core part of our lives that it comes as naturally as the daily commute to work or the morning routine of breakfast and a shower. It can become more difficult to obtain regular exercise for those who live with serious medical conditions or whose bodies are getting weaker in old age, but that shouldn’t eliminate exercise completely. Indeed, a half-hour window of moderate exercise several days a week can make an enormous difference to the health of an elderly person (classified as 65+ years).
If you’re still not convinced, think about these facts, as discovered by Oslo University Hospital research: elderly people who exercise for just two and a half hours per week are likely to live for at least five years longer than those who don’t. An elderly person who exercises for three hours per week is 40% more likely to see their 75th birthday than a peer who doesn’t exercise.
The physical benefits of frequent exercise are well known (improved heart health, reduced likelihood of suffering a fall, quicker healing of wounds), but it also has a significant impact on an older person’s mental health. The flow of blood throughout the body stimulates the brain and minimizes the probability of suffering from dementia, while elderly people who exercise regularly feel more self-confident and are happier in themselves from knowing that they can remain active on a near-daily basis.
The exercise certainly doesn’t have to be strenuous. A short walk, cycle or swim, or even a brief period of Zumba dancing, can have a huge effect if carried out most days, especially when supplemented by simple stretches and balancing routines. For many elderly people, the hardest aspect of exercise is finding the motivation not just to begin exercising, but to keep it going for a sustained period. If you can stick at it long enough for it to bed into your everyday routine, you will continue to lead a healthy and happy life well into your senior years.
This infographic was produced by Home Care Plus (http://www.homecareplus.ie/), an Irish company providing home care services so that people of old age or those who require care can continue living independently in their own homes for as long as possible.