Seniors and lack of interest in physical activity

Seniors and lack of interest in physical activity

Many older people think that physical exercise is no longer suitable and necessary for them. With age, we lose faith in our own abilities. We are afraid that we will not be able to cope with the tasks imposed on us. Often, barriers such as fear of falling, injury and a general feeling of insecurity are unbreakable. Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity cause these problems to deepen.

Factors that contribute to the lack of interest in physical activity in older people include :


– older people are frail and weak physically.

– the human body does not need so much physical activity when it ages.

– exercises are dangerous for older people.

– health problems (chronic diseases, joint pain, various forms of disability …),

– no time,

– lack of knowledge (the conviction that the training must be very demanding and intense to be effective),

– lack of support (many older people who lead a sedentary lifestyle claim that the main obstacle to starting a workout is the lack of support from friends and family),


Ironically, physical exercises can improve or reverse situations that prevent older people from starting activity (fear of falling, anxiety, depression, poor faith in the capabilities of their body, etc.). Older people from different ethnic groups often report improvement in performance, self-esteem, mood and general health after starting a training program. It has also been shown that exercise reduces the risk of falling down and developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis.


Negative effects of physical inactivity.


The aging population of Europe and Poland is probably the most important health and socio-political challenge of the coming years. It is anticipated that in 2050, people aged 60-79 will constitute a quarter of the total population of the European Union. Maintaining satisfactory health and functional capacity of seniors, including increasing employment opportunities and reducing the costs of disease treatment, are priority actions of the European Commission.

Diseases of the circulatory system are the most important cause of mortality of older people. Because of their frequency and course, they are one of the most important causes of disability and poorer seniors’ quality of life.

In Poland, at least ⅔ of the elderly suffer from hypertension and about ⅓ is treated for ischemic heart disease, and the incidence of heart failure is estimated at 20-50%.

One of the most important factors mitigating the influence of age and enabling the so-called Successful aging is regular motor activity. The sedentary lifestyle, so common in older people, has an adverse effect on most body systems and functions, necessary to maintain independence and independence in the field of everyday activities.

Due to the impairment of the cardiovascular, respiratory and motor systems, inactivity causes a decline in physical performance. In addition, it impairs glucose tolerance, orthostatic tolerance, disrupts mineral metabolism and causes a number of other negative changes in the human body.

In recommendations for seniors, apart from the most important in younger people, preventive activities of physical activity in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, a greater emphasis is placed on the prevention of disabilities and diseases characteristic of the elderly (sarcopenia, osteoporosis). This translates into an accent of health training with typically endurance exercises for mixed training, with a large proportion of strength (resistance) exercises.


Resistance training in the elderly.


Strength training is more and more important in programming motor activity in older people. The main role of resistance training is to inhibit the development of sarcopenia (decrease in muscle mass with age) and associated functional changes. Loss of muscle mass with age is one of the most important factors causing aerobic or aerobic capacity (VO2max). Systematic strength training in older people results in increased muscle mass, increased strength and increase in VO2max which translates into improved walking, climbing stairs, balance, lifting heavier objects, etc. This type of training, much more than endurance effort, enables preservation of lean body mass. Movement activity in the elderly also improves flexibility, balance and coordination of movements.


General recommendations for training seniors:


There are no age limits for practicing physical training. Regular physical training, including resistance training, is recommended for seniors of all ages, even for people over 80 years of age.


– choose the type of activity that you think is the most interesting, there is a much higher probability that you will manage new challenges and keep your regularity

– practice with friends, make physical activity a pleasant social event

– choose a program that contains both elements of strength (resistance) training as well as activity improving endurance, coordination, balance and stretching exercises.

– Start slowly and increase the intensity gradually, follow your progress in the training diary for additional motivation


Good luck and till next time!


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