Health & Wellbeing

National Older People’s Day 2016: Active ageing

Older man and young boy with bike

On October 1st we are proud to celebrate National Older People’s day! A day to raise awareness of the achievements of older people and the positive impact they have on society. 

Ageist views are common in our society; research by Age UK found that 37% of people aged 65 and over have experienced discriminated due to their age. Older adults have contributed to society their entire lives, but unfortunately sometimes older adults aren't treated with the respect they deserve. 

Studies show that older people have the same passion for life as everyone else does. In fact, according to Age UK, older people seem to enjoy life even more than the rest of us! The charity found that 82% of people over 65 said that in the last two weeks, they felt happy or contented either most days or every day; which was the highest for any age group including 16-24 year olds. 

In addition, older people aren’t far behind us when it comes to the amount of activity they get up to. Age UK reported that 43% of men and 34% of women aged over 65 report taking at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise on at least five days per week, compared to 56% of the population average. The most popular sports for this age group was also noted as swimming, golf, bowls and cycling.  Not bad for ‘old people’ then? 

Exercise leads to a longer, more enjoyable later life

The older adults who participated in the study have the right idea. Regular physical activity, and specifically exercises that focus on balance, coordination and strength, will dramatically improve the ability to perform everyday tasks such as walking upstairs, getting up from a chair and reaching for objects. 

As you get older, falls become more common, they affect 1 in 3 older adults, and can have serious consequences. They are the most common cause of emergency hospital treatment for older adults in the UK and account for around 70,000-75,000 of hip fractures every year.  As we mentioned in our last article, the most effective way to prevent falls is through specific physical exercises, if practised weekly an older person should notice a difference in their movement capability within a few months. You can find our top three exercises to prevent falls here. 

Embrace old age

There is no reason to fear old age, we should embrace it and make the most of our later lives. 

Older adults can improve their quality of life through many different ways, whether it’s socialising with peers, maintaining hobbies, or keeping their mind sharp with mental exercises. However, the most effective way to improve quality of life is to stay active, eat well and do plenty of exercise. 

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