The importance of exercise as we age. Some practical implications. - Community Moves


It is no surprise that the level of physical activity and exercise we engage in is closely related to our health status. As we grow older, our bodies become weaker and fall victims to the years of abuse, both intentional and non-intentional, that we have subjected them to over a number of decades.

Simple things like poor seating posture or poor breathing patterns may seem fairly tepid when viewed in isolation, however, when we consider the the average Australian spends approx 2000 hours a year sitting down and takes around 8.5 million breaths per year, these mild behavioural traits can have alarming effects on an individuals health.

In scientific terms, primary ageing, which is the inevitable process of bodily deterioration, causes defective mitochondrial function and reduced muscle and skeletal mass (sarcopenia). Secondary ageing refers to additional deleterious structural and functional age-related changes caused by diseases and lifestyle factors. Secondary ageing can exacerbate deficits in mitochondrial function and muscle mass, together with the development of skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Exercise opposes these negative effects of secondary ageing by preventing the decline in mitochondrial respiration, mitigating ageing-related loss of muscle mass and enhancing insulin sensitivity.

Right, so what does this actually mean for you?

Being physically active and staying fit and healthy will help you to get the most out of life, whatever your age. These recommendations are designed to help older Australians achieve sufficient physical activity for good health as they age. They are mainly for people who are not currently building 30 minutes of physical activity into their daily lives, and are looking for ways they can do so.

Being physically active for 30 minutes every day is achievable and even a slight increase in activity can make a difference to your health and wellbeing.

Australian Physical Activity Recommendations

All adults:

  1. should do some form of physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities.
  2. should be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.
  3. should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
  4. who have stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.
  5. who continue to enjoy a lifetime of vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a manner suited to their capability into later life, provided recommended safety procedures and guidelines are adhered to.

If only there was a service that made it easy for you to meet these guidelines all at once…. oh wait… there is!