The importance of exercise in older people

As people age, it is even more important to remain physically active. 

For many, ‘retirement’ at 65 can mean retiring from a former active lifestyle into a sedentary existence. 

Being sedentary and not participating in exercise has a number of significant and adverse health effects.

Adverse health effects due to lack of exercise

Decline in cardiac fitness = decrease in capacities like doing simple things such as showering and dressing.

  • muscle atrophy and weakening are exacerbated if the person also happens to be obese.
  • poor muscle mass and strength are both critical issues in late life and promote disability.

Being inactive increases

  • the risk of a range of diseases including arthritis, 
  • obesity
  • diabetes 
  • osteoporosis 
  • heart disease 
  • some cancers and probably dementia and depression.

Becoming sedentary can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once diseases develop that are related to this lifestyle, such as arthritis, physical activity may become more challenging making the whole problem worse.