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Exercise is Medicine

While the importance of exercise as we age has been well documented and discussed. Over the past few years, we have seen the conversation shifted from being reactive with care to being proactive in wellness.

Last edition, we wrote about the role of nutrition in maintaining wellbeing as we age. Poor nutrition coupled with insufficient and excess sedentary behaviours are potent risk factors for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, obesity, sarcopenia, frailty, and disability, among other chronic diseases associated with ageing.

This week we thought we’d share research which doesn’t just talk to the role exercise plays in maintaining quality of life as we age, but provides guidelines of what physical activity and exercise looks like for older adults.

The Expert Consensus Guidelines, published in 2021, recommends that older adults should include at least 30 minutes of daily endurance exercise in bouts of 10 minutes, with a total 150 – 300 minutes of weekly activity. The paper recommends progressive resistance training at least twice a week, with balance and flexibility exercises also to be included.

Interestingly, combining these types of training with simple physical activity such as Tai Chi or dance programs have been shown to reduce falls in older adults.

“Exercise is medicine”, the research paper concludes, ending with the final note that one of the main challenges for the future is for exercise to become as a mandatory part of someone’s care plan as the age.

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