We all know physical activity is important for our overall health, however a new study has strongly shown that older Australians who have higher levels of physical activity and lower sitting time have better overall physical and mental health.
The new study suggests that higher amounts of regular, moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity and lower duration of sedentary (sitting) time is associated with higher mental and physical health for older cancer survivors and older adults, in general.
The researchers are confident that this new data really amplifies the need to move more.
"The findings reinforce the importance of moving more and sitting less for both physical and mental health, no matter your age or history of cancer," said the lead investigator.
"This is especially relevant now as so many of us, particularly cancer survivors, may be staying home to avoid COVID-19 exposure, and may be feeling a little isolated or down. A simple walk or other physical activity that you enjoy may be good for your mind and body."
I’m worried about being more active, what can I do?
It is very natural to have some concerns if you are thinking about introducing more exercise into your life, especially as an older adult! For that reason, we’ve put together some tips to get you started!
Get professional advice
Before you start any new movement, it is important to chat to your GP or talk to one of our staff at Living Strength OT on what may be appropriate for you. It’s important to get the right guidance to avoid any injuries or falls.
Change your mindset
Think about what you currently enjoy or used to enjoy doing, can you implement these activities again? Also think about any physical activities you always wanted to try but haven’t yet.
The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is just not true – it’s never too late to try something new and in turn it’s a great way to stimulate new pathways in the brain and even make new connections in the community.
Any movement is good movement
Exercise doesn’t have to mean running up hills or hitting the gym, simply moving can be a great place to start.
Minimise the amount of time spent in a prolonged sitting position. Try breaking up long periods of sitting as often as possible with some movements and incidental exercises (e.g., checking the letterbox).
Set yourself goals
Set goals or targets that are easily attainable aiming to meet the guidelines. The guidelines for older adults include 150 minutes of moderate - intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week AND strength and balance training twice a week.
Perhaps in the first week it is introducing a 20-minute walk, the following week make it 30 minutes. Make sure they are goals that you feel you can achieve, no need to aim for the stars right away.
Find an exercise buddy!
Think about asking a buddy to join you. You are more likely to stick with your exercise plan if you share it with someone close to you. You will also kill two birds with one stone, both of you will improve your health!
Remember we are here to help:
At Living Strength Occupational Therapy, we are passionate about helping our clients achieve more independence, better health and greater quality of life. We understand that being able to perform everyday tasks including exercise can be life-changing, we can tailor our services to each client’s needs.
As Occupational Therapists (OTs), we are trained in a broad range of health sciences to deliver a holistic approach to client care. Understanding the client first – their culture, family and values, along with their medical needs is essential in creating a detailed plan to improve real quality of life. Every person is on a different journey, and everyone has different roadblocks along the way.
Contact our friendly team to get you started!