The UK population is becoming increasingly older. As we age our muscles weaken, activity levels generally decline, allowing our muscles to weaken further, affecting mobility and balance. Older people are therefore prone to falls, which are the most common cause of accidental injury in older people and the most common cause of premature death in the over 75s.

Exercise is emerging as one of the most potent factors influencing health in old age. Hence, active ageing is now synonymous with healthy ageing. It is well reported that older adults participating in any form of physical activity better maintain cognitive function as well as gaining physical health benefits, improving strength and balance, preventing falls etc. Yet, the majority of older people participate in well below the minimum recommended exercise – 50% of those over 65 participate in less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week.

Evidence suggests muscles can still adapt when challenged, even in later years. Exercise can help increase strength and balance and therefore offer improvements in daily living activities and maintenance of safe mobility and thereby reduce the incidence of preventable falls. It is also key to promoting rehabilitation post-injury/fall and thereby help reduce hospital (re)admissions. In some cases, this may influence lifespan, but equally importantly, it will increase robustness, and therefore the enjoyment with which people live their later lives. Studies also indicate that individuals who are more physically active have a reduced risk of developing dementia.

Fit2you offers bespoke exercise options for people of all fitness levels in later life, from chair-based gentle movement, to nordic walking and strength training. Getting older may mean getting a little slower, but it doesn’t mean standing still!

Written by: Jo Gaskill

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