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Welcome to our November blog. The aim of this blog is to keep you up to date with developments in the world of research that may be related to you. We hope to keep the blogs short, relevant and as light on technical speak as we can.

In the current climate, both physical and figurative, it is increasingly hard to stay active. The weather is bad, gyms are closed, we are advised not to meet up in groups and we are all just a bit drained of it all. The importance of staying active is constantly being highlighted and I just want to draw your attention to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society in relation to the importance of physical activity in older adults.

This group looked at activity levels in 507 older adults with an average age of 78.4 years. They asked them to exercise 5-6 days per week which included two weekly centre-based exercises sessions. Participants were progressed from exercising at a light intensity to a moderate-vigorous intensity over the first 2-3 weeks. They were tested in various parameters at set intervals.

The findings showed that for individuals with low levels of physical activity, the higher the level of light physical activity the lower the risk of mobility disability. They suggest that this group should be encouraged to move more through leisure walks and encouraging hobbies that challenge functional abilities. Once activity levels increase it is important that they keep progressing them rather than just stick to a routine.

For frail older adults, shorter bouts of varied activity are recommended with an emphasis on improving balance and strength. The intensity of the exercise should be tailored to the individual and how they are feeling at that time. Once balance and strength are improved this group should do as the group in the paragraph above are recommended to do.

Unfortunately, our older adults are being isolated at the moment in the interests of their health. Ironically, this is serving to do exactly what it aims not to do. We need to encourage our older generation particularly that it is vital for them to maintain and improve levels of physical activity over this time to maintain quality of life and mobility into the future.

John Casey MISCP MScSportsMed

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