Recommended diet and exercise for the over-70s

Categories:   Elderly | Health | Life | Nutrition | Personal Training | Resistance training | Strength training

Recommended diet and exercise for the over-70s

You might have seen the reports in the news recently about the cycling club of people aged 55-80 years whom researchers found had immune systems that were as healthy as those of most 20-year-olds.

The tests found that the cyclists were physically younger than most their age and that older members of the group had similar muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity to the younger participants.

The findings highlighted the importance of exercise, especially as we age, in protecting people from a variety of age-related conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and, potentially, cancer.

The NHS recommends that in order to maintain or improve health older adults need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and strength exercises. It suggests that for the over-65s they should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every week, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Alternatively, they should do 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles.

You can find out more here.

But staying fit and healthy in our older years is not only about exercise. It is also about our diets.

While older people’s energy requirements do decrease a little in older age, they should still ensure they get adequate amounts of various foods to stay healthy.

These include two portions of fish each week, one of which should be oily. Oily fish contains long chain omega-3 fatty acids which can help protect against heart disease and can alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis while generally helping to preserve eyesight and relieve swollen joints.

The body’s ability to absorb vitamins also declines with age, and most of the main vitamins and iron can be found in foods such as fruit and vegetables and some fortified foods such as bread or fat spreads, yoghurts and foods with added fibre.

But Vitamin D is specifically recommended for older people, and if they spend less of their time outdoors in the sunlight, which is the main source of vitamin D, they are recommended to take a daily supplement.

We’ll be looking at the whole issue of diet and exercise for older people in more of our blogs.

Andy C

Health & Fitness Coach