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Saving the Best for Last

Published: December 13, 2021

While we may like to think we are still in our 20’s, unfortunately, ageing is a normal part of life. With ageing, the body and mind go through an endless list of changes, and it is important that we consider how we could be helping our loved ones stay fit and healthy in their later years!

What happens when we age?

Ageing involves both physical and psychosocial changes. Physically, bone mineral density reduces, muscle strength and mass reduces while the proportion of body fat increases, joints stiffen and become less flexible, coordination decreases, hearing and vision decline, endocrine, digestive and immune systems work less effectively, and the muscles used for breathing become weakened. Increased risk of falling is one of the most detrimental side effects of ageing. Statistically, 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 experience at least 1 fall each year and it is currently the leading cause of hospitalisation in the elderly. Psychosocially, many may experience anxiety, depression, dementia, grief, loneliness, social isolation and lack of support networks.

All of these changes can severely impact upon the health and happiness of elderly family members. While physiotherapists can’t stop the ageing process, they can show your loved one’s ways to remain physically active in order to maintain independence, social participation, prevent disease progression and improve their quality of life!

Benefits of regular exercise for the elderly population
  • Improve muscle strength, mobility, control and balance.
  • Improve endurance and stamina.
  • Reduce the risk of falls.
  • Maintain or improve mobility and gait.
  • Improve or maintain independence with daily activities.
  • Reduce feelings of withdrawal and encourage social participation.
  • Slowing the progression or preventing diseases.
  • Improves function of the heart and lungs.
  • Improve cognitive function, self-efficacy and quality of life.
  • Reduce pain and disability.
What and how much exercise is safe?

Exercise should consist of both aerobic and strength training. The World Health Organisation has designed specific guidelines that is recommended for everyone over the age of 65 in order to experience maximum health benefits;

Adults over 65 should participate in at least 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity each week. Or at least 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity each week.

  • Adults over 65 should participate in a strength training program involving all muscle groups at a moderate to vigorous intensity 2 to 3 times per week.
  • Additionally, exercise should also include both balance and flexibility training for falls prevention.

In order to enjoy and stay motivated with exercise, the most important thing is to find a form of exercise which you love! That way you are more likely to continue long term with it independently, or participate in a regular exercise class with a bunch of new friends!

How can a physiotherapist help?

Physiotherapists are experts in the human body and the way it works. Firstly, a physiotherapist will assess and learn about your current physical and psychosocial abilities, learn about your goals and then work with you to empower you to achieve them! They will educate you about fun and safe forms of exercise, including but not limited to, walking, swimming, hydrotherapy, stationary cycling, body weight strength exercise classes, balance activities, yoga, Pilates, Thai Chi and more! Then depending on what form of exercise will benefit you the most and what you will enjoy, a physiotherapist will then individually tailor an exercise program for you to complete independently or with others. As a result, physiotherapy has been shown to improve strength, flexibility, balance, reduce pain, improve independence and overall quality of life in the elderly population!


If you or a family member would like to learn more about physiotherapy for the elderly population, the physiotherapists at Back In Motion Como would love to help!


Phone Number: 9313 3414