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Move it or Lose it – The importance of movement as we age!

Move it or Lose it - The importance of movement as we age!

We have all heard of the phrase “Move it or lose it”. 

Apart from this phrase representing a line of instructional exercise videos for older people, it also hints at a more important aspect: the importance of movement and physical activity as we age!

The Benefits of Physical Activity

The benefits of physical activity are many and well documented (12). 

Firstly, it decreases the risk of these diseases:

– Obesity

– Stroke

– Hypertension

– Cancer

– Dementia

– Depression

– Osteoporosis

– Diabetes 2

And it improves these 3 important factors:

– Cognitive (brain) Function 

– Improved Sleep

– Increased Longevity (longer life)

What Does the Research Show?

A 2018 study conducted out of Sydney, Australia (3), concluded that older adults with a higher level of physical activity had an increased likelihood of surviving an additional 10 years free of chronic diseases, cognitive impairment & functional disability. 

 

Now that puts it into perspective… It seems like a small tradeoff for 10 years of a healthier life when you are older!

 

It is shown that our activity levels start to decline after our 20’s, and once we hit our 60’s they dramatically decline. This is the most important time that we need to be moving! 

So What is the Easiest Way to Get Moving?

There are 3 important factors to consider when deciding to start or increase your level of physical activity:

  1. Firstly find something that you ENJOY – this will be the most important factor in determining whether you continue with that exercise – it will also make doing the exercise easier to complete if it’s enjoyable!
  2. Start with something ACHIEVABLE – This doesn’t mean aiming for a Triathlon for your first activity – Start with gentle walking, swimming or a stretching routine and work up from there. 
  3. Increase at a SLOW RATE – Increasing the amount or load too fast will most likely cause injuries – it is best to get guidance from a health professional or exercise specialist on particular load increases for your body!

How Do I Keep The Momentum (Motivation)?

Maintaining the exercise or movement also brings its challenges! These factors can help you stick to your movement goals:

 

  • Recruit a friend or family member –  that way you are accountable! It helps to remind each other and boost each with the activity.
  • Set an alarm or allocate a time of day – Eg. 6-7pm is your hour for exercise, no ifs or buts!
  • Reward yourself for completing it. Something simple like giving yourself a relaxing day off! 
  • Set Goals & targets, if you can see you are improving, you are more likely to continue the activity.