A recent study conducted by researchers from Medical University of Vienna (MedUni) in Austria, has found that older adults who exercise regularly can perform everyday tasks more easily without assistance.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), insufficient physical activity causes around 3.2 million deaths worldwide each year.
The WHO advised that older adults get about 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, during the week, adding that they should also perform activities focused on strengthening their muscles twice per week.
The global health body further stated that older adults who have mobility issues should do physical activity to enhance balance on three or more days per week.
For adults aged 65 and above, experts define physical activity as a combination of everyday tasks, such as work duties (if applicable), transportation, chores, and exercise they do during leisure time, such as walking, swimming, and gardening.
Following this workout routine, experts say, improves cardio respiratory and muscular functions and helps reduce the risk of depression and cognitive decline.
According to findings of the MedUni research, which Thomas Dorner, president of the Austrian Society of Public Health (ASPH); and Richard Crevenna,head of the Department of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Occupational Medicine at MedUni Vienna, led, about 3,300 people aged 65 and over from Austria volunteered to participate in the study.
The results of the study revealed that people who exercise into old age are more independent and can perform everyday activities more easily.
Dorner and colleagues explained that experts tend to divide everyday activities into “activities of daily living” (ADLs), such as getting up, eating, and drinking; and “instrumental activities of daily living” (IADLs), such as running errands and doing housework.
Dorner added that people who do the recommended units of exercise each week are three times more likely to be able to manage the ADLs and two times more likely to be able to perform the IADLs.
Stressing more on the importance of exercise, Dorner added that older adults should do muscle strengthening exercises, such as squats with a chair, a couple of times each week.
“Approximately 10 exercises are recommended for the large muscle groups of the body, each exercise being done once initially, gradually increasing to two or three times, performing each exercise so intensely that it is possible to manage approximately 12–15 repetitions but no more,” explained the ASPH president.
Findings from the study also revealed that among the study participants, only around one-third declared that they performed the recommended strength training each week.
The researchers estimate that this tendency represents what occurs all around the world.
According to the WHO, older adults who exercise regularly are less likely to have high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, they have lower rates of all-cause mortality, a higher level of cardiorespiratory fitness, and a more healthful body mass overall.
Encouraging both the older and the younger ones, Crevenna said people of all ages should be more active, so as to stay healthy and independent for longer and remain self-sufficient.`