Why you need to ensure the elderly stay active

The ‘elderly’, ‘aged’ or ‘older adults’ are usually above 65 years old. They are often on retirement or preparing to retire.  There is often a decrease in function among this age group. Most individuals in this age group have grandchildren or great grandchildren. Though it appears they have done it all or seen it all in life, they still need to stay healthy to enjoy their retirement, and spend time with their grandchildren and relatives. One of the ways for them to stay healthy is by staying active. The benefits they gain from engaging in physical activities are outlined below.

  1. During this stage, muscles and bones become weak making it difficult for grownups to maintain balance and coordination, consequently affecting movement and increasing falls. These falls can lead to either minor or major injuries. Engaging in physical activity improves muscle strength, endurance, and bone strength, thereby preventing falls. This also helps them to carry out other chores or carry on with their daily activities without having to depend on others.
  1. As function decreases, the use of the brain by older adults also reduces. This may lead to memory loss, a problem some older adults face. By engaging in physical activity, the elderly can improve or maintain some aspect of cognitive function and decrease memory loss
  1. As older adults are usually retired and have little or no work functions, the likelihood that they will engage with other people drops greatly. At the same time, their children and grandchildren may be busily building their careers or in school, respectively, giving the elderly very little opportunity to spend time with their family. This can make them lonely, depressed, stressed, or put them in a bad mood. By going out to engage in physical activity, they come in contact with other people, and improve interaction and consequently reduce loneliness, depression and stress.
  1. During this stage, appetite reduces, sometimes due to constipation as they find it difficult to empty their bowels. Lost appetite may lead to low weight, which poses risks to their health. Engaging in physical activity improves bowel movement enabling them to empty their bowel to get their appetite back and have a healthy weight.
  1. During this stage, activity reduces and the likelihood of living a sedentary lifestyle, which is associated with overweight or obesity, is high. Being overweight or obese at this age is dangerous as it increases their risks of diseases such as heart diseases, some cancers, diabetes, hypertension etc. Engaging in physical activity will make them stay active, live less sedentary lifestyles, improve their cardiovascular endurance, among others. These will consequently reduce their risks of diseases.
  1. Older adults easily get tired and have difficulty in sleeping. These can be decreased if they are encouraged to live an active lifestyle.

Related articles: How much physical activity does an elderly person need?How to help the elderly to live healthier, happier lives

Last page review: 22/03/2016
Next page review: 22/03/2018

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