We've all heard that physical activity is important for all ages groups. If you are over 50, however, I suggest to pay special attention to this popular advice.
The aging population in North America is growing fast. In fact the aging population (65 years of age and over), will be one of the most significant phenomenon of the next half century (1).
In Canada, by 2021 there will be almost 7 million older adults, representing 19% of the total population. In 2041, older adults will account for 25% percent of the Canada population, which will equate to 9 million senior citizens.
Now, these statistics are not a bad thing, as there is nothing wrong being an older adult. In fact, some people experience the best moments of their lives after 50. What can be bad however is not being aware of some of the possible health risks that come with age.
With the dramatic increase in the average life expectancy of Canadians there will be an increasing number of individuals at risk for injuries and chronic diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, among others. But don't worry; physical activity is here to help us.
Growing evidence suggests that physical activity is beneficial for physical and mental health of older adults. It’s been indicated that regular exercise is an effective way to prevent an important number of diseases associated with aging including stress and depression (2).
Now we all do know how important exercise is in our lives, especially as we age, however how much exercise is recommended ? Organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology provide some recommendations specifically for older adults- which include :( 3,4)
Being active for at least 150 minutes per week
Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration
Older adults, with poor mobility, should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week
Muscle strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups should be done at least twice a week. This will help your posture and balance
When older adults cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activity due to health conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and condition allow.
My best advice for you:
Don't be afraid to engage in exercising because you think it will cause pain, as this may not be the case. In fact, remaining inactive could result in far worse for your health. If you are already active,- congratulations!
If you are not however, try to find new ways to exercise as it may be one of the most important steps to improving your quality of life.
Contributor: Andres Palomino, MSc, R.KinReg (Kinesiologist & Personal Trainer) www.fitafter50.ca ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; 647-854-4316 From his early years Andreas as been involved with sports and physical activity. At 8 years old he started to compete as an Inline Speed Skater in his hometown. The passion for sports led him to choose Kinesiology and exercise sciences as his professional career. Ove the past 10 years in the personal training and health promotion field, Andrea have had the opportunity to specifically work with the population of those aged 50 and over. This interaction has allowed him to understand their fitness and health needs. Today, Andrea works for Fit After 50, a kinesiology / fitness organization specialized in prevention and management of recurring pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and any other special physical condition. Professional highlights for Andres include: Post Graduate Diploma in Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion from Centennial College, Bachelor’s degree in Sports and Exercise Sciences , Senior’s Fitness Instructor Course, The Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging , Soft Tissue Release Training, Provided by Jim Bilotta M.Ed, B.Phed, Dip SIM. CAT(C), Advanced Training Instructor, Personal Trainer, YMCA, Provider member of “Exercise is Medicine Canada” (EIMC) Professional Network,, Member of Canadian Obesity Network and more. Andres' main objective is to optimize client’s health and help them to improve their quality of life.
1.Martin, L.G, Preston, S.H. Introduction. in: L.G Martin, S.H Preston (Eds.) Demography of aging. National Academy Press, Washington, DC; 1994:1–7 2. American College of Sports Medicine. Exercise and physical activity for older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998;30:992–1008 3. World Health Organization. Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Physical Activity and Older Adults. http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_olderadults/en/ 4. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults. http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_olderadults/en/