The importance of exercise as we age

Exercise isn't something that 'young' people do. As we age we need to stay active too, and here's why.

As we get older our bodies get less efficient. Our blood pressure, blood viscosity (thickness) and body fat rise, while our muscle mass and bone mineral density reduce. This is natural as we age. But as exercise has the exact opposite effects on our bodies, it is a great way to keep ourselves feeling young and staying healthy.

A study by the British Heart Foundation recently found that the older we get the more time we spend sedentary (not moving), for instance watching TV or reading.

On average people between the ages of 55 and 64 spent 22.4 percent of their time sedentary and this increases to 27.9 percent for the over 85s.

Being sedentary has a very negative effect on your health. It prevents good blood flow, promotes muscle wastage and, as you're not burning calories, it can contribute to obesity. 

The World Health Organisation recommends that people of all ages should aim to get out of their chairs and have at least 150 active minutes each week, and this should rise to 300 minutes per week to see additional health benefits.

Within your weekly active minutes, you should also include at least two muscle-strengthening exercise sessions. This can include bodyweight exercises, such as yoga, or weights-based exercises such as BodyPump.

Related Video: Mature Movers' Workout with Olivia

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Last updated Thursday 16 March 2023

First published on Monday 2 May 2016