With Australians living longer than ever before, it has never been more important for ageing individuals to maintain muscle strength, bone health, flexibility, and social connection. Alarmingly, statistics reveal that only one third of older individuals meet the recommended physical activity guidelines*. Yet, engaging in exercise beyond the age of 50 holds numerous benefits that have not only been linked to improved physical health but also a greater sense of happiness and fulfilment.

Improved Bone Health
Partaking in weight-bearing and resistance training exercises play a key role in improving both bone density and muscle strength. Exercises to improve bone density not only decrease the likelihood of falls but also helps to mitigate the risk of fractures and health conditions such as osteoporosis. This increased mobility that results from such exercises helps to support overall skeletal health and minimise the impact of potential health issues related to bone fragility.

Building Capacity
Regular exercise improves muscle strength and joint flexibility in older adults which enables them to conduct daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, lifting objects and getting out of a chair with greater ease. Beyond this, it opens up avenues to explore travel adventures and pursue life goals that are still on the bucket list. Research indicates that those who maintain an active lifestyle also tend to experience a faster recovery period following surgery or illness. Therefore, exercise plays a key role in building the capacity required to assist individuals both before and after any procedures or health concerns.

Cognitive and Social Benefits
Exercising is not just about physical fitness  It has also been associated with a decreased risk of memory loss, dementia, depression, and cognitive decline. When older adults exercise in a communal gym or shared space,
it facilitates social interaction and connection. This helps to foster a sense of community and reduce social isolation which is a prevalent issue among older adults.

Individuals over 50 are discovering a newfound vitality through physical activity. In a society that often associates ageing with limitations, research has shown that positive ageing beliefs can increase life expectancy by 7.5
years. Rather than overlooking this age group, we should be celebrating increased longevity and the wonderful opportunities that ageing affords us.


Exercising Safely

Accessing professional advice from medical and exercise professionals can help support people aged 50 and over to exercise safely and meet their health objectives for the following reasons:

1. Specialised Expertise: Exercise professionals bring specialised knowledge to address the unique health needs and concerns of over 50s.

2. Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation: They can design customised exercise programs that focus on injury prevention and rehabilitation whilst enhancing mobility, flexibility, and balance.

3. Health Assessments and Monitoring: Regular health assessments and monitoring can help track an individual’s progress, identify potential risks, and tailor fitness plans accordingly.

4. Chronic Disease Management: They have the required skillset to tailor
exercises that support in aiding and managing conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, or cardiovascular issues.

5. Adaption of Exercises: They can modify existing exercises to accommodate any pre-existing conditions or physical limitations that those over 50 may have or be at risk of.

*Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics – National Health Survey 2022 https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/physical-activity/latestrelease#people-aged-65-years-and-over