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The benefits of exercise for older people cannot be understated. Though exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do – particularly if you’re beginning to feel a few aches and pains settling in – it’s important that you make time for it.

The link between physical activity and maintaining good health are so strong that the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine in partnership with Public Health England and Sport England has created a new initiative called Moving Medicine.  The initiative aims to work with clinicians, hospitals and patients to spread the word about the remarkably positive effects that just a little bit of movement can have on the symptoms of many common diseases. Click here for more information.

According to the NHS, many adults over 60 spend ten hours or more on average, sitting or lying down. However, they’re paying a hefty price for such a sedentary lifestyle, with higher rates of falls, obesity, heart disease and early death compared with the general population. The long and the short of it is that that it becomes even more important to remain active in later life if you want to maintain your health and independence.

Gradually, the less active you are, the harder it will become to pursue even the simplest of pleasures, such as playing with your grandchildren, meeting up with family and friends, walking to the shops, and embarking upon leisure activities.

Recent research from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research has shown that older adults who exercise regularly have a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases compared with those who do not exercise. Following 1,500 adults aged over 50 for a ten-year period, it was found that those who engaged in the highest levels of total physical activity were twice as likely to avoid stroke, heart disease, angina, cancer and diabetes, and be in optimal physical and mental shape.

“Essentially we found that older adults who did the most exercise were twice as likely to be disease-free and fully functional,” said Bamini Gopinath, Lead Researcher and Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. “Our study showed that high levels of physical activity increase the likelihood of surviving an extra 10 years free from chronic diseases, mental impairment and disability.”

All of our founding organisations have a strong focus on helping people stay active in old age. FLexercise has a tried and tested all-round fitness formula that improves everyday flexibility, strength, posture and core control, and offers a complete approach to fitness and mobility for people of all ages and abilities. The Keep Fit Association (KFA) is dedicated to the provision of safe and effective exercise, movement, and dance, with a key commitment to helping the over 60s become more energetic, healthier and happier. Medau is participant-centred and always delivered in a non-competitive atmosphere. Medau exercises are based on natural body movements, and designed to build core strength and stamina, and improve balance and coordination without leading to overstrain or exhaustion.

(Video source: youtube.com)

One Medau participant speaks of the unique benefits of the classes. “We have an excellent teacher who caters to our precise needs, which is important, as we are all of differing ages. She offers good and sensible advice about movement and mobility, which helps keep our bodies supple. Our teacher is aware of all class members’ individual abilities to take part in the exercises. She offers different movements every week, and where some members are unable to do floor exercises, we can simply sit in a chair and mimic them. Mobility is very important as one ages. Medau is also graceful – some movements remind me of my ballet and tap days when I was a teenager! I’ve now been attending Medau classes for 25 years, and owe so much of my health to them.”

Click on the pictures below to find out more about Medau, FLexercise and KFA and find a class near you.

For more information on health and wellbeing for older adults, click on the links below

Active Ageing

Remaining in good health physically, mentally, and emotionally is what defines well-being and happiness for us all, at any age – including later life. At EMD UK, we understand that your health is your wealth – especially as you grow older.

Nutrition

Did you know life expectancy has doubled in the UK over the past 200 years? Of course, there are many contributing factors for this increase in life expectancy, including our own understanding of our nutritional needs. As we age these needs change. Our bodies require the right balance of nutrients to function at its best. Taking the time to understand what your body needs can lead to a happier, healthier lifestyle and life.

Making friends and staying connected

If we are to believe what we read in the press, we can conclude loneliness and isolation is an epidemic which has a widespread impact across our society. Regardless of age, it is important to stay connected, meet new people and get involved in our communities.  The older we get, the harder this can sometimes be but there are many ways you can avoid the feeling of loneliness, including special interest groups and local group exercise classes.

Mental health and wellbeing

Reports suggest that loneliness and mental health issues are on the rise. Unfortunately, it seems these symptoms are having an impact on people from all walks of life, across the generations.  More than ever, we are living in a 24/7 society where the world never seems to stop for a second, and it is all too easy to let life get on top of us.  A sure-fire way to prevent life’s stresses from taking their toll on our mental health is to engage in physical group activity.