British Heart Foundation urges over 50s: Be active now and leapfrog into later life
One out of five people could avoid the pain and trauma of heart disease if they just put down the remote control and put on their walking shoes to give their body the physical activity it needs.
With rapidly dropping activity levels in the 50-plus generation, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) are launching a new campaign last month urging the over 50s to make fitness their priority now or risk losing their future health and physical independence forever.
Dr Mike Knapton, Director of Prevention and Care, BHF, says: “If
we are physically inactive in our 50s, we could be laying the
foundations for miserable poor health in our later years - the
very time when we should be enjoying our well-earned retirement!
With regular, frequent exercise, people can dramatically improve their heart health as well as their mobility, balance and mental well-being, setting them up for a long and fulfilling later life. But despite this fact, up to three-quarters of adults in the UK do less than the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity on 5 or more days a week.
Furthermore, activity levels drop rapidly as both men and women get older, putting them at an even higher risk of heart and other health problems.
Broadcaster Angela Rippon gives her support to the campaign and says “It is vitally important that anyone who wants to live a healthy and fulfilling later life ensures they get plenty of exercise now. Finding your own way to enjoy being physically active is key - be it dancing, swimming, long country walks – or whatever suits you. It’s an investment in your future health, which you will never ever regret!”
The nation’s heart charity is providing a free ‘how to’ campaign
booklet explaining why we should take the physical activity
message to heart. It also has handy tips on fun, inexpensive and
sociable ways to fit exercise in to today’s hectic lifestyle.
The campaign demands that the Government, local authorities, and
employers take the health of the over 50s seriously. They will
all be encouraged to implement practical strategies to help
enable and encourage people in this age group to get active. Not
only will this help improve heart health of the over 50s, but
investing in health now will save money for the NHS in the long
Barbara Macdonald – age 63
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a large market out
there for people who can’t swim but who want to learn – not only
so they can be more physically active, but also so they can play
with their grandchildren.