The importance of healthy ageing – how to maintain your strength.

Not only is muscle strength important for balance and bone health, it enables you to be strong enough to undertake daily activities, such as walking up and down stairs, carrying the groceries to and from the car, completing household chores and getting out and about in the community.

As you get older, you may feel that your body no longer responds the way it used to at a younger age, but there is a simple way to regain control – through improving your strength.

According to the ABC, “regular muscle strengthening has also been shown to help you manage blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels, as well as prevent and control heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

From 30 years of age we lose 3-5 per cent of the muscle mass we carry naturally, however, for most healthy adults this reduction should not affect how we manage day to day. What can negatively affect the ease with which we live, is the muscle loss associated with a sedentary lifestyle.”

The really good news is — it’s never too late to get started, even if you’ve never picked up a weight in your life.

“We have muscle biopsies of people over 100 years old and you can see changes in their muscle cells, even at that age,” says Dr Singh.

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What does this mean for you?

According to Physical Activity Australia, “about half of the physical decline associated with ageing may be due to a lack of physical activity.” With regular exercise, adults can experience a range of health and wellbeing improvements, including:

  • Remaining confident to live in your own home
  • Remaining independent to make your own decisions
  • Having the ability to manage your own needs and lifestyle choices
  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Increase in bone health and strength
  • Improvement of cardiovascular system – heart and lungs
  • Increased joint mobility and flexibility
  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood
  • Decrease in body fat

  older couple joggingWhere should I start?

This depends entirely on your health and fitness goals. If you’re training correctly, getting strong is quite simple. By incorporating some light exercise into your lifestyle, you can continue to feel independent, maintain good balance, get out and about in the community and use public transport with ease, as well as visit your friends and family.

You don’t have to stop at light exercise. An exercise physiologist or physiotherapist can work with you to tailor an exercise routine to your specific needs, including working around heart, lung, joint or any other health condition. Even with conditions like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, emphysema and cardiovascular disease, you can still increase your daily exercise levels above basic light loads – in fact, it’s the best thing you could do when supported by a trained health professional.

At the Independent Living Centre, our physiotherapists can work with you to assess your current lifestyle and see what exercises may best suit you, to ensure you remain mobile both inside the home and out in the community. Our physiotherapist’s can tailor a program specific to your goals to support your independence, safety and wellbeing at home and in the community through our allied health service. If you would like further information on our physiotherapy services, please visit the HACC Allied Health Service page or call (08) 9381 0677.

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