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The First Pillar of Healthy Ageing: Exercise

Older adult exercising
Picture of Miles Browning Physiotherapist
Miles Browning Physiotherapist
Miles is a qualified Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist and Associate Lecturer with the University of Queensland. He is the founder of Fizzio Clinics, a physiotherapy and exercise physiology group specialising in helping people to age well and Sportsfizzio, a physiotherapy and exercise physiology practice focused on services for the fitness Industry.

Introduction

Exercise is a cornerstone in the quest for healthy ageing, especially for individuals aged 65 and above. The importance of physical activity in this demographic cannot be overstated, given its role in enhancing both physical and mental well-being. Recent research has provided valuable insights into how exercise can be effectively incorporated into the lives of older adults to maximize its benefits.

The Multifaceted Role of Exercise

Exercise is not merely about physical fitness; it serves multiple roles in promoting healthy ageing. From enhancing mobility to improving mental health, the benefits are manifold. A study by Dolenc et al. emphasises the importance of multicomponent exercise programs in preventing falls and frailty among community-dwelling older adults. These programs focus on improving strength, balance, and mobility, thereby reducing the risk of falls and frailty.

Enjoyable Group-Based Physical Activity

One of the key factors in sustaining exercise among older adults is the enjoyment derived from it. Creighton et al. conducted a qualitative study exploring how exercise instructors make group-based physical activity enjoyable for older adults. The study found that tailoring sessions to meet the needs of older adults and fostering social support are crucial for promoting an enjoyable experience.

Home-Based Functional Exercise

For those who prefer or require a home-based approach, ACTIVE-AGE@home, a study by Vrancken et al., offers a promising solution. This home-based functional exercise program showed positive effects on physical fitness, stability, and agility among frail community-dwelling older adults. The program was also found to be acceptable by the participants, with 95% considering it suitable for their needs.

Digital Approaches

In the age of technology, digital platforms are becoming increasingly relevant in promoting exercise among older adults. A study by Chambel et al. explored the impact of a gamified exercise platform for older adults. The study found that participants exercised autonomously for an average of 35 minutes per session, indicating the potential of digital solutions in supporting healthy ageing.

Future Directions

As we continue to explore the seven pillars of ageing, it is clear that exercise is a critical component that can significantly influence the quality of life in older adults. Future posts will delve into the remaining pillars, however we are not finished with exercise yet. Next we’ll discuss the types of exercise and their relevant to the older adult.

References

  1. Creighton, R. M., Blackburn, N., Paradis, K. F., & Tully, M. A. (2023). Delivering enjoyable group-based physical activity programmes to older adults: a qualitative exploration of the views of exercise instructors. European Journal of Public Health. PDF
  2. Dolenc, M., Knific, T., & Tomažein, K. (2023). vAdBeCeDa®- a multicomponent exercise programme to prevent falls and frailty in community-dwelling older adults. European Journal of Public Health. PDF
  3. Vrancken, D., Tambeur, J., De Keyser, E., De Smedt, E., Belpaire, M., De Cauwer, S., Willems, K., De Clerck, I., Beckwée, D., Peersman, W., van de Velde, D., Lieten, S., Annemans, L., & De Vriendt, P. (2023). ACTIVE-AGE@home: a home-based functional exercise program for community dwelling frail older adults: mixed method study. European Journal of Public Health.
  4. Chambel, G., Tinga, A. M., Huybens, D. S., Dias, G., & Pinto, J. F. (2023). Exploring the Impact of a Gamified Exercise Platform to Support Healthy Ageing: Home-Based Study with Older Adults. IEEE.

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