According to new research an older Australian could add up to eight years to their life expectancy simply by getting off the couch and moving, and Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is laying down the challenge to all older Australians to take action.
'This latest research by the World Health Organisation was a huge undertaking with over 17,000 adults tracked over a period of 31 years. The research identified four key risk factors that led to early mortality – physical inactivity, smoking, poor diet and alcohol use," says ESSA spokeswoman, Katie Williams.
The results showed that for 65 year olds, the probability of surviving the next 10 years for those with no risk factors was 86% for men and 90% for women. In comparison to this, those 65 year olds who had all four risk factors was 67% for men and 77% in women.
'These results show a huge difference in those 65 year olds who lived a healthy lifestyle and were active."
'Many older Australians worry about conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular issues and even cancer, but what they don't realise is by being physically active they can either prevent or manage conditions that affect us in our later years," says Katie.
According to Australian's statistics just one in four older adults are actually meeting the requirements of being sufficiently active, and nearly 70% of Australian adults (i.e. almost 12 million adults) are either sedentary or have low levels of physical activity.
'Exercise can seem like a chore at times – we are all great at making up excuses. But is it really that hard?" asks Katie.
'The most important thing to understand is - make exercise fun and mix it up. You do not need to challenge yourself to the extreme or push it too hard, the simple message is – just move every day and enjoy it."
Katie's Tips for Exercise
The best kind of exercise includes a mix of cardiovascular, resistance, flexibility and balance training. You want to keep your body on its toes by challenging it to a range of different exercises.
Cardiovascular exercises can include:
Step ups - stepping up onto a higher platform and repeat or walking up and down a set of stairs
Shadow boxing – Punching the air with water bottles in your hands
Going for a swim, walk with friends or sorting out the garden
Resistance training can include:
Sit to stand – sitting and moving into a standing position off a chair
Toe raises or calf raises – whilst balancing standing up on your toes and then returning to a standing position
Wall push ups – like a regular push up but against the wall standing in a vertical position
If you have any health issues or have been inactive for a long period of time, speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who can help prescribe the right type and amount of exercise you need.
Find an Accredited Exercise Physiologists here: http://www.essa.org.au/
Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is the peak professional body for exercise and sports science in Australia, ESSA provides national leadership and advocacy on key issues and supports its members and the community through fostering excellence in professional practice, education and training, and research. www.essa.org.au