Ongoing physical activity pays off in healthier, happier life as we age

Check in on Active Aging Week; learn how to achieve a more active lifestyle.

Janet Cranston Fit for Life
Janet Cranston
Fit for Life

Don’t miss out on this year’s Active Aging Week. This week is about educating and empowering adults over 50 so they can live as fully as possible in all areas of life — physical, social, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, vocational and environmental, regardless of age or health conditions. Throughout this week there will be several different events taking place across the province to give as many older adults as possible experience with wellness activities and exercise in a safe, supportive environment. It also promotes the benefits of healthier, more active lifestyles across the life span.

Maintaining or becoming physically active is crucial as we age. Being physically active contributes to living independently and improved physical health. Physical activity:

  • Lowers the risk of stroke by 27 to 45 per cent.
  • Reduces the incidence of diabetes by 25 to 58 per cent.
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 33 to 50 per cent.
  • Reduces the incidence of high blood pressure by 33 to 60 per cent.
  • Can reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by 25 to 50 per cent.
  • Can lower the risk of colon cancer by 30 to 60 per cent.
  • Can reduce the risk of development of Alzheimer’s disease by 40 per cent.
  • Can decrease depression as effectively as medications or behavioral therapy.
  • Reduce risk of premature death by 31 to 50 per cent.

Physical activity also improves mental health. Those who are physically active are less likely to be depressed, anxious or tense, more likely to feel good about themselves, more likely to sleep better and more likely to cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms when trying to give up a habit such as smoking or alcohol.

Visit the Active Living Coalition for Older Adults website at http://www.alcoamb.org/ for more information about Active Aging Week and find out about events going on in your area.

Janet Cranston is director of health and fitness at the Reh-Fit Centre.

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