Happy elderly couple smiling while riding a bicycle together outdoors in a grassy field, enjoying leisure time and staying active.

Is Active Ageing Possible? Exploring Physical Activity for Older Adults

As our global population continues to age, it's easy to assume that this trend means the quality of life has improved as well. But let's put aside the longing for the "good old days", shall we? In countries like Japan, Italy, and Germany, where the average population age exceeds 45 years and a significant proportion of citizens are aged 65 and above, this ageing population also brings new challenges. That’s why it should come as no surprise that in June 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) responded to this demographic shift by recognizing ageing as a distinct category in its 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).


No wonder, then, that researching ways to not only age but to age well should be at the top of your list (together with watering your plants!). While exercise has long been recognized for its numerous health benefits, its impact on longevity extends beyond physical fitness alone, since, as we know, longevity and wellness are deeply intertwined.

Research indicates that regular exercise can aid in preventing chronic diseases, enhancing cognitive function, and even slowing down the ageing process at the cellular level. From strength training to flexibility exercises, let’s discover a range of activities for elderly people to help you maintain an active and youthful lifestyle for years to come. After all, there's still a great need for us to stay fit and active to continue taking care of the world of tomorrow! 

 

Why Physical Activity for Older Adults is Worth the Effort 

 

We know - physical exercise is hard, and getting off the couch for that morning run is no easy feat. That's precisely why we've gathered all its incredible benefits right here to incentivize you. So, if you're finding it tough to dust off the yoga mat, let us show you why physical activity for older adults is absolutely worth the effort.


  • Promoting Cellular Health: at the cellular level, exercise for elderly people has been found to stimulate the production of mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell responsible for generating energy. As if it weren’t enough, exercise also helps fend off oxidative stress and inflammation, two major culprits of ageing and age-related diseases. 
  • Improving Cardiovascular Health: just remember, the only strokes you want are the ones on the tennis court or the golf course, not the ones affecting your arteries! Regular physical activity for older adults can help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve circulation, ensuring your heart stays strong and your game stays on point.
  • Maintaining Muscle Mass and Bone Density: as we grow older, our bodies naturally lose muscle mass and bone density, putting us at risk of becoming a little more wobbly than we'd like. Fortunately, regular exercise, especially strength training and weight-bearing exercises, contributes to active ageing, helping you stay strong and vibrant as you grow older.
  • Enhancing Cognitive Function: forgetfulness may be a part of getting older, but that doesn't mean we have to accept an ageing brain as inevitable! Exercise isn't just about toning physical, but also mental muscles; research suggests that regular physical activity can enhance cognitive function, helping to keep your mind sharp and agile as the years go by. Plus, staying active can provide protection against age-related cognitive decline and lower the risk of serious conditions like Alzheimer's and dementia. 

While physical activity for older adults is undeniably beneficial for longevity, it's important to strike the right balance and not overdo it. Incorporate a mix of aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility, and balance exercises into your routine to promote overall health and well-being. Variety is the spice of life, after all. The key is to find something you love, so exercise feels more like fun than work!



Physical Activity for Older Adults: Some Ideas



Strength Training


Strength training is crucial for elderly people to maintain muscle mass and strength, which naturally decline with age. Focus on exercises that target major muscle groups, such as squats, lunges, chest presses, and rows. Resistance bands, dumbbells, or bodyweight exercises are excellent options for building strength safely and effectively. Strength training is like preparing your muscles for any challenge life throws your way—whether it's lifting heavy boxes or outrunning your grandchildren (just because they’re younger doesn’t mean you have to let them win!).


Cardiovascular Exercise


Cardiovascular exercise is also essential for maintaining heart health and endurance. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine are ideal for elderly people, as they are gentle on the joints while still providing an effective cardiovascular workout. 


To stop ageing, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, spread throughout the week. Keeping your heart pumping is like giving it a daily dose of adrenaline—just to keep life interesting!


Flexibility and Balance Exercises


If you ever find yourself sneaking for a midnight snack, flexibility and balance exercises are what you need to reach the top shelf without pulling a muscle! Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are excellent options for elderly people, as they focus on gentle stretching, balance, and coordination. These activities can help improve flexibility, posture, and stability, promoting independence in daily activities, and ensuring active ageing.


Core Strengthening

 

A strong core is essential for maintaining stability, especially for when life throws you off balance, and also for preventing back pain. Incorporate exercises that target the core muscles, such as plank variations, abdominal crunches, and seated or standing twists. This type of physical activity for older adults helps strengthen the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis, improving posture and reducing the risk of injury.

 

Functional Movements

 

Functional exercises mimic everyday movements and help improve overall functional fitness. From lifting groceries to reaching for that stubborn jar on the top shelf, incorporating movements like squats, lunges, step-ups, and bending and lifting exercises can help you stay strong, balanced, and coordinated for everyday tasks. These are great exercises for elderly people that they can perform daily.


Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before embarking on any new exercise adventure, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns. We explained why physical activity for older adults is crucial for promoting longevity and enhancing your quality of life as you age. By incorporating various exercises like strength training, cardio, flexibility, and balance work into your routine, you can stay active and independent for years to come.

Did you know what else preserves longevity? Yes, you guessed it, it’s NMN supplementation. NMN, a NAD+ precursor supplement, is a molecule known for its potential in anti-aging research. It's believed to support cellular energy production, combat age-related decline, and promote cardiovascular health and cognitive function. Incorporate Simply Nootropics’ NMN into your routine so you can confidently answer "yes" - active ageing is possible!

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