Increase your lifespan with exercise and stay active as you get older

  • Date: 04 April 2018
  • Category: News
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We know that exercise boosts mood, increases energy and helps you to stay fit.* But did you know that exercise can actually increase your lifespan?

Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 30 minutes exercise on 5 days a week, increases your lifespan by an average of 3.4 years. Even just 75 minutes a week can add 1.8 years to your life, that’s only 10 minutes a day! The best results will come from being active as a habit early in life, but even if you’re well into your older years, you will reap the benefits of starting an exercise schedule now.

Why should older adults exercise?

Just a little bit of exercise can help slow the effects of aging and give you more energy.

Victorian Government health guidelines recommend that weight bearing exercises like lifting weights or using the weight machines at a gym can reduce your risk of bone loss and osteoporosis as you age. Balance and coordination exercises such as practicing standing on one leg, heel to toe stands, yoga and tai chi can reduce your risk of falling. Any aerobic exercise like walking, swimming or dancing will improve your fitness, lung capacity and muscle tone.

Older adults should avoid running or other high impact sports that can put pressure on joints. You will know if you need to avoid these activities as your knees or ankles will hurt - exercise should never be painful.

Exercises to try:

-       Yoga or tai chi

-       Swimming

-       Aqua aerobics classes (talk to your local YMCA Centre about their classes)

-       Walking around a local park or your neighbourhood. Some neighbourhoods have a local walking group, you might be able to find information online about this, and it’s a great way to be social!

-       Bush walking

-       Dancing

-       Low impact group fitness classes (these are offered at most YMCA Centres)

-       Weights

-       Gardening

YMCA is an organisation that is young at heart and believes that everyone should stay active regardless of their age. This is one reason why YMCA Victoria is a proud partner of Premier’s Active April. Register for free anytime during the month of April and aim for 30 minutes activity a day. When you register, you’ll receive a 10 Visit Pass Card for your local YMCA Centre to use over the month.

*Based on a research study by PLOS