One of Australia’s leading bone exercise experts and The Bone Clinic co-founder Dr Belinda Beck, a Professor at Griffith University, has warned Australian seniors to think long term when it comes to choosing an exercise program.
Dr Beck warns seniors against quick-fix, short term fitness and health programs, such as the rising number of 12-week challenges hitting the market, especially for long term bone health.
“For seniors in particular it’s important to realise a three-month program won’t undo years of not moving or set you up for the rest of your life, especially when it comes to reducing your risk of osteoporosis,” says Dr Beck.
“The ultimate goal should be to promote good health and prevent illness over the long term, which is why we de-emphasise 12-week programs for the senior demographic,” she said.
Dr Beck said all Australians over 50 would benefit especially from regular exercises targeted to prevent osteoporotic fracture.
“It really is never too late to start – but what you choose is vital. You want to choose a bone- and/or falls-targeted exercise programme that begins at a level that matches your ability and gradually increases intensity to ensure you continue to improve over time.
Dr Beck added that online exercise programs are very convenient choice for seniors who may struggle with transport or live regionally.
“But even some online programs are based around a 12-week model, which leaves the person wondering what to do next,” she said.
Over 60 per cent of Australians over 50 years of age have osteoporosis, according to a recent report from Osteoporosis Australia, and Dr Beck says early exercise intervention can be key to avoiding a preventable fall.
“We know that the biggest risk to this group is suffering a fracture, which can severely deprive them of physical function, independence, and quality of life.
“The good news is that simple changes to your activity levels and performing the right kind of exercises to improve balance and strength will significantly lessen your risk of suffering a preventable fall and subsequent fracture,” she said.
The Bone Clinic have used their expertise to develop the 24-month digital exercise program Onero Online which starts with light-weight balance exercises, which gradually increase in difficulty over time as stability improves and strength and muscle memory begins to build.
Whatever exercise program you choose, the key is to think long term and make gradual changes to activity that will increase your fitness as well as look after your body.
Tell us about your exercise regime. How do you make sure you keep fit while looking after your body?