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Blog 2_January (The importance of physical activity for the elderly)

Written by: Helene Malan

With the average age of humans living longer  – it is nothing new to find many centenarians today – quality of life for the elderly becomes more important than ever.  Physical activity has many benefits but alarmingly some research reports that only one in four people between the ages of 65 and 74  does some form of exercise on a regular basis.

Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of many chronic diseases, and weakness and loss of balance is not linked to old age, but rather to inactivity.  Benefits of physical activity for the elderly includes the following:

  1. Longer life – the World Health Organisation states that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the 10 leading causes of death and disability.
  2. Prevent falls – exercise improves muscle strength and bone density, which in turn improves balance and coordination that can help to prevent falls.
  3. Reduced risk of stroke and heart disease – regular cardiovascular activities raises heart rate and improves blood flow.
  4. Increased bone density – weight bearing activities, like walking or running, increases bone density and can decrease the possibility to get osteoporosis andof fractures.
  5. Reduced risk of dementia – a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s found that regular exercise, with increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain, can reduce the risk of dementia.
  6. Prevent or delay chronic diseases – arthritis, diabetes, heart disease can all be greatly improved by doing regular physical activities.
  7. Confidence and independence – by getting stronger and more agile, as well as increased coordination can delay the move into old age homes with care, and may help the elderly to stay independent for as long as possible.

eta College offers qualifications to qualify yourself and practicing as a Personal trainer for Special Population Groups:

  1. Higher Certificate in Fitness
  2. Advanced Certificate in Fitness Special Populations

It can be very satisfactory to make a difference in someone’s life by helping them improving their quality of life.  Our qualifications will equip you with the anatomical, physiological, nutritional and exercise programming knowledge to confidently work with this population group.


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