Whanganui DHB urges older people to exercise

15 Apr 2013 | Reducing Harm from Falls

As part of April Falls month, Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is urging people aged 65 and over to exercise as much as possible to strengthen their muscles and bones, which helps people avoid falls.

Coordinated by the Health Quality & Safety Commission, April Falls is a month-long campaign designed to raise awareness about falls and what people can do to try and prevent them.

WDHB lead physiotherapist Carol Ramsden is pushing the exercise message saying it’s one of the best things older people can do to lessen their likelihood of falling or ‘taking a tumble as some say’.

“Exercise helps improve our balance, muscle strength and flexibility while also helping to keep our bones strong, give us more energy, help us sleep better and help control blood pressure, blood sugar levels and our weight,” Mrs Ramsden says.

Mrs Ramsden says a 30-minute walk, most days of the week is all it takes for people to keep up their level of fitness. If people find it easier to do short bursts of activity, then three 10-minute walks a day are just as effective.

People aged 65 years and over are reminded:

  • to spend more time being physically active and less time sitting down;
  • that any activity is better than nothing - it all adds up;
  • that daily activities like walking to the shops, vacuuming or gardening, all count; and
  • to aim for at least 30 minutes of activity, five days a week. Activities which increase breathing and heart rate are ideal. This might include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or playing with grandchildren.

Ideally, people should be participating in activities which promote flexibility and balance such as carrying shopping, stretching, and golf.

For our community, Sport Wanganui offers a comprehensive directory of activities which the WDHB encourages older people to participate in. The six programmes are Take It Easy, Take A Seat, Let’s Dance, Active and Out There, Let’s Get Walking and A Little Bit Sporty.

All six programmes offer great opportunities for people to keep fit, strengthen their muscles and to help retain good balance. More information about these activities can be found on the Sport Wanganui website: www.sportwanganui.co.nz.

Last updated 15/04/2013