A little physical activity can help older people in Tipperary to live healthier for longer

  • Important message from experts as Positive Ageing Week kicks off from September 30th to October 6th

Friday, August 27th

LIGHT physical activity, such as a walk in the park, gardening or a little housework can help older people in Tipperary to live healthier for longer.

A little physical activity can help older people in Tipperary to live healthier for longer

Prof Roger O’Sullivan

That’s the message from experts at the Institute of Public Health in Ireland as Positive Ageing Week kicks off.

The weeklong initiative aims to highlight the positive aspects of ageing and celebrates the fact that we are living longer, and that growing older is an opportunity.

Over 530,000 people aged 65 and over currently live in Ireland – by 2046, this will rise to 1.4 million people.

 

But research shows 1 in 2 people aged 65 and over do not get enough physical activity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people aged 65 and over should do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, such as a brisk walk, five times a week.

However, new research by the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences involving more than 36,000 people found that light physical activity contributed to a lower risk of dying prematurely.

Prof Roger O’Sullivan, from the Institute of Public Health (IPH), said that it’s never too late for older people to build physical activity into their lives.

He said: “The latest evidence shows there are real health benefits of light physical activity, and this message is particularly important for those who are currently inactive. People who are physically active are at lower risk of having chronic conditions, some cancers, diabetes, and fewer mobility issues.

“And it’s never too late to start and reap the benefits of physical activity. Even if somebody hasn’t been physically active throughout their life, if they start with some light activity they can improve their health and wellbeing in later years.

“We are growing older, both as individuals and as a society. The gain in life expectancy is one of the biggest achievements in public health, and brings a lot of opportunities. But modern lifestyles mean that we are spending the majority of the day sitting. We need to sit less, move more, and do it more often,” Prof O’Sullivan added.

Prof Roger O’Sullivan’s top tips for older people in Tipperary to get physically active;

  • If you are concerned about increasing your levels of activity, visit your GP to make sure there are no reasons to prevent you being physically active
  • 30 minutes of physical activity a day might be too challenging, so try shorter bouts of activity. Remember – any activity is better than none
  • Try to sit less, move more and more often
  • Break up long periods of sitting with light activity, such as walking around the house or light gardening
  • Meet a friend for a walk rather than sitting down for a chat
  • Get off the bus earlier, or park the car further away, then walk to your destination
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Find an activity that you like and have fun

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