Healthy ageing is the idea of prolonging your wellbeing by developing and maintaining your abilities in older age. A person’s wellbeing incorporates physical, mental and social health.
Through building on your own healthy behaviours over the course of a lifetime you will age healthier. This can include good nutrition, physical activity, access to high-quality healthcare and social engagement.
There is no typical older person. Everyone’s ageing journey is different. Some 80 year olds have robust levels of physical and mental capacity, while other people of the same age may be largely care-dependent.
The intent to age well and take action towards our own health can start at any time.
It is a common belief that healthy ageing is the equivalent to being free of disease or infirmity. In reality, many older people experience one or more health conditions that, when well-managed, have little impact on their wellbeing.
Living in an environment that supports and maintains wellbeing is also key to healthy ageing.
What are the benefits of exercise as we age?
Whatever your age and fitness level, you will see great benefits from exercising.
Research has shown that high levels of physical activity from mid to later life can prevent muscle deterioration and the onset of sarcopenia. Exercising in later life can reverse many of the detrimental effects of sedentary behaviour and ageing. Ultimately, increasing physical activity at any stage of our lives can have a positive effect on health.
Exercise recommendations for adults aged 60 and older
Did you know that the following are advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) on activities you should tackle each week?
- 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles
- 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity such as hiking, jogging, or running
- 150 minutes a week – or 30 minutes a day for 5 days – of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking
- 3 sessions a week of activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot
Who benefits from exercising?
Exercising in later life can reverse many of the detrimental effects of sedentary behaviour and ageing. Ultimately, increasing physical activity at any stage of our lives can have a positive effect on health.
Women 60-79Women in this age range benefit from a regular and varied exercise approach which has been shown to slow down muscle loss and prevent development of frailty.
Men 60 – 79The benefits of a regular and varied exercise approach have shown men in this age group have a better ability to maintain fitness and muscle strength for longer.
Women 80+For women aged over 80, a regular and varied exercise approach leads to increased mobility and flexibility and improves mood and overall happiness.
Men 80+For men aged over 80, a regular and varied exercise approach halts muscle loss and leads to an improved quality of life.