New guidance issued by the UK Chief Medical Officers emphasises the importance of building strength and balance for adults, as well as focusing on cardiovascular exercise.
Falls are the main reason older people are taken to A&E, and could be avoided through daily activities such as brisk walking, carrying heavy shopping, climbing stairs, swimming and gardening. There is strong evidence that physical activity protects against a range of chronic conditions. Meeting the guidelines can reduce the risk of:
· type 2 diabetes by 40%
· coronary heart disease by 35%
· depression by 30%
The new guidelines are an update to those released in 2011, but the overall message remains the same: any activity is better than none, and more is better still.
Under the new guidelines, adults are advised to undertake strength-based exercise at least 2 days a week. This can help delay the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density that starts from around age 50. It is believed that this is a major reason why older people lose their ability to carry out daily tasks.
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