Move more today for a healthier tomorrow
Aging is an inevitable part of life. With it can come challenges like aches and pains, cognitive decline, higher risk for chronic conditions and in some cases social isolation. The good news? Being physically active can help you stay strong, mentally fit and independent. Want to thrive throughout your Golden Years? You might be looking to age better.
How can physical activity help me age better?
Falls remain the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among older adults living in Canada.
Between 20% and 30% of older adults fall each year.1
Thankfully, engaging in activities such as strength training or taking a brisk walk are excellent ways to not only clock some of the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, but also to improve balance, core strength and stability – three absolute game-changers when it comes to preventing falls.
A recent report projects that by 2031, close to 1.4 million adults living in Canada will be affected by dementia, resulting in direct health-care costs of approximately $16.6 billion.2 Unfortunately, because the primary risk factor for dementia is age, the number of people in Canada living with a related brain disorder is expected to grow.
Enter physical activity! Research shows that being physically active protects against the onset of dementia and can slow its progression.34 So, when you get out there and get active, you’re not only keeping your body healthy but your mind, too.
Connection and community
Research indicates that one in five adults living in Canada experience some level of loneliness or isolation.5 The most at risk? Older adults, due to a lack of mobility, increased risk of fall-related injuries and shrinking social networks.
Engaging in regular physical activity releases endorphins within the brain and can make us feel happier. It also provides the chance to meet new people and connect with friends – both of which help prevent cognitive decline while keeping our brains healthy.
- Incorporate muscle-building and bone-strengthening activities into your routine at least twice a week, with a focus on major muscle groups like the legs, core and back.
- Incorporate activities that improve balance, like yoga and resistance training.
- Tai chi helps boost memory and learning, improves balance, and lowers blood pressure.
- Water fitness is a safe and effective muscle-strengthening activity that due to buoyancy, allows you to exercise at higher intensity with less impact on your body.
- For the more adventurous, we recommend one of the fastest growing activities in Canada (especially for those 65 years or older): pickleball!
- Check out the free ParticipACTION app to track your progress and for ongoing motivation, articles and exercise videos.
- PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA. SENIORS’ FALLS IN CANADA: SECOND REPORT. 2014 ACCESSED APRIL 15, 2019. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/seniors-aines/publications/public/injury-blessure/seniors_falls-chutes_aines/assets/pdf/seniors_falls-chutes_aines-eng.pdf
- ALZHEIMER’S SOCIETY CANADA. LATEST INFORMATION AND STATISTICS. 2018. ACCESSED JULY 11, 2019. https://alzheimer.ca/en/home/get-involved/advocacy/latest-info-stats
- RABIN JS, KLEN H, KIRN DR, SCHULTZ HS, ET AL. ASSOCIATIONS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND Β-AMYLOID WITH LONGITUDINAL COGNITION AND NEURODEGENERATION IN CLINICALLY NORMAL OLDER ADULTS. JAMA NEUROLOGY. 2019.
- MARTIN GINNIS KA, HEISZ J, SPENCE JC, CLARK IB. FORMULATION OF EVIDENCE-BASED MESSAGES TO PROMOTE THE USE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY TO PREVENT AND MANAGE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. 2017. B MC PUBLIC HEALTH;17:209.
- STATISTICS CANADA. LIVING ALONE IN CANADA. ACCESSED AUGUST 3, 2019. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/75-006-x/2019001/article/00003-eng.pdf?st=qmbfr0a3