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International Day of Older Persons!

Choosing to stay active as you get older can provide enormous benefits. The department of health’s guidelines for adults over the age of 65 at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every week and strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

As we get older it is harder to maintain muscles and bone density but it is possible with the right activities to build muscle and bone strength as well as cardiovascular fitness. Learning to feel comfortable and confident that being out of breath is beneficial when exercising and not just a sign of illness is also very important.

Any activity is better than none and a specific exercise programme done alongside regular everyday activity such as walking, gardening and housework

A bespoke exercise programme given after a full assessment can reduce falls by up to 54% (Falls prevention exercise – following the evidence, Age UK 2013). People fall for many reasons. What really matters is that a fall does not cause any harm especially a blow to the head, broken bones or a loss of confidence. The stronger you are, the quicker your reflexes will be and the better your muscle bulk the less likely you are to be injured. The stronger and more mobile you are, the more likely you will be able to get up of the floor independently. A good exercise programme will also ensure you have rehearsed this for if the worst does ever happen.

Most falls happen in walking or standing situations so specific exercises that work on leg strength and balance while moving are very helpful. Weak legs and slow walking speeds are associated with a greater risk of falling and both can be improved through exercise.

On top of any physical benefits of exercise, improvements have also been shown in sleep pattern, stress and anxiety, cognitive function and general mental wellbeing. And when exercise is taken in a group, feelings of loneliness and isolation improve.

At Physiofunction we strongly advise anyone of any age to have health check with their GP before undertaking any new exercise regime. Although there are many exercise resources available on line would also recommend you have an assessment with a qualified Physiotherapist or Sports Therapist to ensure the exercises are suitable for you.

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