Exercise and Healthy ageing

All of us have heard about exercise and how good it is for us. We know that we can improve our fitness and even reduce our weight. However, there is a lot more to exercise than we originally knew. Research into exercise has significantly increased in the past few years and we now understand that exercise has a wide variety of benefits for chronic diseases.

A common phrase I have heard is that “exercise is for young, fit and athletic people”. Research will tell you however that you are in fact incorrect. Exercise is now recommended as treatment for most health conditions and is also beneficial for preventing chronic diseases from occurring in the first place. 

Did you know that more than 70% of people that are aged above 65 have not one, but two or more chronic diseases such as cardiovascular (heart) disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes and cancer?1 Did you also know that exercise is extremely beneficial in the management and treatment of conditions such as2:

  • Diabetes

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Osteoporosis

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Parkinson’s Disease

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol

  • Psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety

  • Persistent pain

Plus, MANY MORE!

We know that exercise can help to manage chronic diseases, for example, resistance exercise can help reduce blood sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetics. Exercise can also reduce blood pressure levels after exercise. The benefits are wide and vast. A very interesting point however, is that exercise can not only help to manage these conditions, but it can also help to prevent them. Regularly exercising and eating a well-balanced diet can reduce the risk obesity for example, which can then further reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or osteoarthritis. If you could take a pill to reduce your risk of chronic disease, then exercise is that pill!

So, what is “healthy ageing” then? Healthy ageing does not mean you have no chronic diseases; however, it does involve maintaining your functional ability and ensuring that this helps to improve or maintain your overall well-being3. 

But are we currently getting enough exercise to allow for healthy ageing? A large percentage of people in the population aren’t meeting the Australian recommendations of 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. So why? Exercise can be a frightening word to some people. Exercise does not mean you have to run a marathon or lift heavy weights. It is about moving your body correctly. It is also sometimes difficult to engage in exercise independently and build the motivation to engage in it regularly. A great way to improve this is to speak to specialist’s in the field such as Exercise Physiologist’s or join a group that way you can all move together. Finally, you might be unsure about where to start or what to do, especially if you have a chronic disease! This is where the specialist’s (AKA Exercise Physiologist’s) come in.

What are Exercise Physiologist’s? Are they physio’s? Are they personal trainers? No, they’re not! Exercise Physiologist’s (EP’s) are allied health professionals who hold a 4-Year University degree that specialise in exercise prescription. They have a great understanding on how the body works and moves and fantastic knowledge on chronic diseases and how to best manage them. Most importantly, EP’s listen and work together with you to create and achieve your goals. 

It is never to late, or too early, to start engaging in exercise to improve your health and well-being. Exercise is for all age groups and fitness levels. If you would like to learn about how exercise can have a beneficial impact on you, book in a session with one of our Exercise Physiologist’s to see what all the fuss is about.

Aevum Physiotherapy – 02 8544 3231 






References:

  1. Viña, J., Rodriguez‐Mañas, L., Salvador‐Pascual, A., Tarazona‐Santabalbina, F. J., & Gomez‐Cabrera, M. C. (2016). Exercise: the lifelong supplement for healthy ageing and slowing down the onset of frailty. The Journal of physiology, 594(8), 1989-1999.

  2. Pedersen, B. K., & Saltin, B. (2006). Evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in chronic disease. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 16(S1), 3-63.

  3. https://www.who.int/ageing/healthy-ageing/en/