A recent research provided new evidence suggesting building physical strength and improving flexibility can benefit health in seniors. The special program developed by the researchers can help reduce the frequency of falls, increase strength, and improve overall physical health.
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It has long been known that low physical activity contributes to body deterioration and is likely to lead to a variety of diseases. A new research conducted by Australian scientists proves that exercising can be beneficial even if you are old – in fact, old age even requires physical activity to prevent the person from turning into someone frail.
Exercising: Australian style
The new research was carried out with the help of the government. Scientists from various organizations and universities took part in the project. They work at such educational facilities as Bond University and the University of Queensland. The government-funded research implied implementation of the progressive resistance plus balance training program, which is abbreviated as PRBT.
There were 245 seniors participating in the study. All of them were within the range of 65-92 years old. The new program was used in the course of the Commonwealth aged care support they were receiving. The seniors were attended by professional exercise physiologists who came to their place twice a week. Before the results of the program were analyzed, the participants had been attending the PRBT sessions for 24 weeks.
The researchers found that significant improvement in many aspects of the seniors’ health was achieved. The participants’ leg strength increased by 33%, the risk for muscle wastage, which is termed sarcopenia, dropped by 23%, the overall physical condition improved by 13%, and frailty was reduced by 7%. Besides, the frequency of falls reduced significantly.
However, the program results were not limited to physical benefits: the participants also reported improved mood and reduction in anxiety.
The PRBT program was found to be effective and even able to reduce health care costs, because the investment in seniors’ physical activity enables the government to spend less on treatment. The exercises featured in the program are unique, as the scientists report, in that they are the only ones that proved to reduce such adverse effects of aging as chronic diseases and physical disability. Among the diseases mentioned are osteoporosis and other conditions leading to limited mobility (like osteoarthritis, for instance), and diabetes type 2.
One of the reasons why the research is special is that the seniors involved in it were average citizens who did not have the habit of going to the gym. That being said, starting to exercise is never late, and seniors can benefit from engaging in physical activities, which bring them joy and physical strength. Besides, a person that has the physical ability to move on their own and even work can feel better, because they feel that they can create and still do something useful despite their limited capabilities. Another kind of physical activity seniors are recommended to go in for is yoga.
As another recent research found, engaging in creative activities is also beneficial, which leads us to the conclusion that being a senior does not mean sitting all the time doing nothing: active old age is what can help a senior in terms of both mental and physical health.
Let’s get physical for healthy ageing – Health.gov.au