The importance of exercise for the elderly

These days, the average life expectancy has risen to 80-years-old, which means it is more important than ever to stay mobile as we get older.

When we reach the age of 65, our cardiovascular system undergoes a 20 to 30% decrease in cardiac output. Our Oxygen uptake decreases by 9% for men and 5% for women and our muscular systems undergo a loss of 40% in muscle mass and a 30% decrease in strength by the age of 70.

Strength and flexibility exercises can help prevent falls and injuries as they improve balance and mobility. Improved muscle strength can also help us function better in general.

Exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease or strokes and is proven to reduce and maintain normal blood pressure levels. It helps to maintain healthy arteries in our hearts, as well as maintaining cholesterol levels and reduces obesity and type two diabetes.

Weight-baring exercises such as brisk walking, bowls and tennis, can help keep the bones healthy.

Gentle exercises such as yoga or pilates can help improve mobility and flexibility. The breathing exercises that come with yoga or pilates can also offer a sense of inner calm and reduce stress. Deep breathing allows more Oxygen to circulate around the body, which helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Age UK Cymru offers Low Impact Functional Training (LIFT) classes around Wales, which are designed to get older people taking part in physical activity in the community. The sessions are designed for people aged 50 and above, and are done using safe seated and standing exercises to allow people to work at a level that is comfortable for them. You can find out more here.

Our carers can work with our service users to make sure they get up and about as often as possible. They can also help with gentle stretches and exercises or accompany them to a class. To find out more, please get in touch.