The physical decline of older age
About half of the physical decline associated with ageing may be due to a lack of physical activity. Without regular exercise, people over the age of 50 years can experience a range of health problems including:
- Reduced muscle mass, strength and physical endurance
- Reduced coordination and balance
- Reduced joint flexibility and mobility
- Reduced cardiovascular and respiratory function
- Reduced bone strength
- Increased body fat levels
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased susceptibility to mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of various diseases including cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Many older people believe that exercise is no longer appropriate. Some of the common misconceptions that prompt older people to abandon physical activity include:
- Older people are frail and physically weak.
- The human body doesn’t need as much physical activity as it ages.
- Exercising is hazardous for older people because they may injure themselves.
- Only vigorous and sustained exercise is of any use.