A new study provides more evidence that physically active older adults (I dislike the word seniors) may have a better overall health outlook. The recent study followed 893 80 year olds for four years. The researchers found that the older adults who were most active had about a 25 percent lower chance of dying compared to those who were least active over the four years according to results published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Catherine Sarkisian, director of the Los Angeles Community Academic Partnership for Research in Aging, commented "It's another strong piece of evidence that all seniors should be participating in physical activities,"
This study, like many others, suggests that physical activity is beneficial for older adults. It also suggetes that older adults need exercise just as much as their younger counterparts. Increased physical activity time plays an important role in extending and improving your quality of life and independence.
The biggest challenge for most older adults is getting the right kind of exercise program. All too often, exercise programs for older adults are just modified or watered down programs used for younger clients. This is a mistake because anyone over the age of 50 has different health and fitness goals and requires special safety modifications to their programs when compared to their younger counterparts.
Any older adult fitness program worth its salt includes balance activities as one of the key components. But so many older adults are placed in chairs or on exercise machines to complete their programs. This does absolutely nothing to improve balance and instead continues the gradual loss of stabilty that many adults experience as they get older.
So if you are over age 50, make sure your exercise program fits your changing needs. As I tell all my clients, get out of those machines, switch to free weights, incorporate balance exercises and make sure to get out and walk. Walking is a great companion to a well thought out over-50 fitness program.