The World Health Organisation guidelines for activity recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-
intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity
physical activity throughout the week. Moderate physical activity includes the likes of brisk walking,
cycling, housework and gardening. In addition to this, they recommend that over 65s carry out
muscle-strengthening activities involving major muscle groups, on 2 or more days a week and adults
of this age group with poor mobility should perform physical activity to enhance balance and
prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
Muscle strengthening activities can be alien to many over 65s in Ireland however the benefits of it
cannot be ignored. As well as building muscle which we begin to loose from our 40’s, resistance
training can slow age related shrinkage in some parts of the brain. Aside from building muscle mass,
it reduces the risks of osteoporosis, falls and fractures. If you are over 65 and you haven’t
participated in resistance training or lifting weights, how do you get started? Understandably, some
people may be nervous to just walk into their local gym, if they have never done so before. Many
who maybe have symptoms of arthritis are also concerned that exercise may make their symptoms
worse. In fact, the opposite is true, exercise is one of the key recommendations for improving the
symptoms of arthritis.
If you are unsure where to start on the road to resistance training a Physiotherapist with expertise in
strength and conditioning, is well placed to get you started. As a Physiotherapist our job is to get
people moving and prevent injury. They can assess your current state, any areas of weakness or loss
of motion, and evaluate your balance. Many Physiotherapists now also run resistance training
classes for older people or those unfamiliar with such types exercise. Classes have the added bonus
of a social side which often makes exercising easier.
As always, it is advisable to check with your GP before undertaking any new form of exercise,
especially if you suffer with symptoms such a dizziness or chest pain.
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