Staying Physically Active
In a 2008 survey 73% of over 65’s gave poor health as the reason for not
doing any exercise. Understandably we might worry about falls particularly if we
have osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. However, studies show that these and other
conditions are helped by doing appropriate exercise. Importantly exercise can
improve balance, strength, gait, muscular power, blood pressure, endurance and
bone density. As well as helping our condition, there are often psychological
benefits in knowing you are more in control and social benefits if you do
fitness or movement with a group.
The Taking Exercise page, in our Guide to Staying Fit and Healthy, explains the different aspects of physical fitness and how to get started.
Start gently, do a warm up, pace yourself, and enjoy what you do. Don’t let your
condition be the excuse to do nothing. The key thing is to work within your
limits, take advice from your GP about what is best for the stage of your
condition, or follow the exercise routine you have been given by your
occupational therapist, physiotherapist or specialist.
A number of organisations such as Extend focus
on movement and exercise for specific groups or conditions. Conductive Education is a charitable organisation providing services to people with Parkinson’s,
multiple sclerosis, strokes, cerebral palsy and neurological conditions resulting
in movement problems. Check with your GP, specialist or support organisation to
find out what is recommended for your specific condition.
You may also find the Home Exercise and Rehab series by Pilates
Practitioner and Registered Osteopath Gina John useful. Gina has spent many
years offering help and advice, especially to the over 50 age group