If you want to make your life a little easier, a new study is showing exercise may be the ticket.
Researchers from Austria looked at 3,300 people age 65 and older to see how exercise impacted their quality of life. They noted that people who performed the minimum recommended dose of weekly exercise were substantially more likely to exist independently and perform daily tasks at a high level.
Current WHO recommendations are 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week and 75-minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. There are also recommendations to do strength-training exercises twice per week.
The researchers identified how exercise influenced participants’ ability to perform what was defined as “activities for daily living (ADL),” which included things like waking up, eating, and drinking, and “instrumental activities for daily living (IADL),” which included things like running errands and doing housework.
When it was all said and done, the study concluded that people who performed the recommended levels of exercise each week were more independent and had a much easier time performing daily tasks. Those that exercised could manage ADLs at three-times the rate, and ADLs at twice the rate of people who fell short of hitting the target.
So, what is considered physical activity for people over 65? Virtually anything that gets you up out of a chair and moving – work duties, chores, gardening, walking, swimming, cycling. Even walking to or around the grocery store counts! Aiming to get about 10,000 steps per day is also a good way to measure activity and may produce benefits for your heart.
Fitting some time into your schedule to strengthen muscles is where most people fall short. Carrying items around the house or garden, aqua fit, or other forms of resistance training can all help contribute to stronger muscles and encourage independence. The more load your body can bear, the easier it is to get up, move around, and do all the things you need to do every day. It can lead to less pain, fewer visits to the doctor’s office, and an increased feeling of overall health.