The importance of exercise – whatever your age

Recent research published in the Aging Cell Journal shows how doing lots of exercise in older age can prevent the immune system from declining and protect people against infections.  They followed 125 long-distance cyclists, some now in their 80s, and found they had the immune systems of 20 year olds. Surprisingly they also found that the cyclists did not lose muscle mass or strength and did not see an increase in body fat which is normally expected as associated with ageing.

Prof Norman Lazarus, 82, of King’s College London, who took part in and co-authored the research, said: “If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it. It has wide-ranging benefits for the body, the mind, for our muscles and our immune system.”

For those of us who find the thought of long distance cycling daunting it is interesting to read that the findings showed anything which gets you moving and a little bit out of puff will help.

7 reasons for staying active:

  1. Live Longer – the World Health Organization says leading a sedentary lifestyle is one of 10 leading causes of death and disability.
  2. Prevent Falls – if you maintain muscle strength and bone density your balance is maintained and you therefore reduce the risk of falls.
  3. Reduced Risk of Stroke or Heart Attack – any cardiovascular exercise which raises the heart rate will increase the flow of blood to the heart and improve your health. Cardiovascular exercise can be cycling, but could also be walking, light housework. The secret is to stay active.
  4. Maintaining Bone Density – Weight-bearing exercise such as walking can help increase the strength of bones and reduce the risk of fractures.
  5. Reduced Risk of Dementia – In a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease they found those people who did not exercise were more likely to develop dementia than those who did.
  6. Prevent or Delay Disease – There have been many studies showing that people with arthritis, heart disease or diabetes benefit physically and mentally from regular activity.
  7. Confidence and Increased Independence

Over the last 20 years or so there has been a significant growth in organised exercise classes and swimming pool sessions for the older generation. At Lillyfields everyone we care for is treated as an individual. We encourage exercise of any sort and look to support people in maintaining independence in as many of their day to day activities as possible.

If you would like to discuss with us how we encourage exercise with the people we care for please contact us.

 

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