This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

The importance of exercise in later life

Written by: | Published:

It is important to encourage all ages to be active It is important to encourage all ages to be active

The Olympic and Paralympic Games may well have inspired people of all ages and abilities to try some new activities, but how do we ensure that a more active nation is truly a legacy of the Games, particularly when it comes to older people?

Recent research from national charity Age UK reveals fewer than half of people over the age of 55 are doing the DH-recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week, with one in eight not doing any exercise at all.

But our research also highlights that three in ten older people would like to take part in more exercise. This shows that ensuring people have access to information on how to be more active, both at home and in their local community, is crucial.

Exercise is good for physical and mental health, but it is especially important as we get older - it can influence health positively and lower the risk of strokes and certain cancers, as well as contribute to a greater sense of wellbeing and enabling people to stay independent, in their own homes, for longer.

We want people to recognise the importance and benefits of staying active in later life and primary care and community nurses have a key role to play in conveying that message.

Letting people know that exercise can take many forms and can be done anywhere (not just in a formal gym environment), is a simple but effective message, so please talk to older patients about the benefits of chair-based activities, housework, gardening and walking. Strength-building activities can help to prevent falls, so encourage those who are able to use a resistance band or ankle weights.

Nurses can also signpost local health and wellbeing activities for older people; branches of Age UK can provide information, as can local leisure centres and libraries.

Resources are available via theAge UK website (www.ageuk.org.uk) including the free Staying Steady guide and the Strength and Balance exercises for Healthy Ageing book.

Emma Spragg, head of wellbeing services, Age UK

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.