Blue Care is encouraging people to “Jump Up and Join In” with healthy ageing activities in their communities, as part of Blue Care Awareness Week 2011 from June 13 – 19.
Blue Care Executive Director Robyn Batten said the “Jump Up and Join In” theme aims to encourage people to learn more about options for active, healthy ageing.
“With Australia’s ageing population and the prevalence of health-related illnesses on the rise, there’s never been a better time to highlight the importance of exercise among older people,” Ms Batten said. “Exercise, good nutrition and social activities go a long way to helping people keep mentally and physically active.”
Ms Batten said more and more Blue Care services are running courses to assist people in taking charge of their health regardless of their age, ability or fitness level.
Dr Tim Henwood, an Exercise Gerontologist and Research Fellow with the University of Queensland/Blue Care Research and Practice Development Centre, says it’s never too late to start being more active.
“Older adults can improve their brain function, increase balance and reduce their symptoms of disease with as little as half an hour of exercise each day,” he said. “For those turning over a new leaf or those who aren’t getting the recommended half an hour of exercise a day, the first step towards a healthy, active life is to ‘make a plan’.
“Before you start make sure you see your General Practitioner for medical advice, do some research and set some achievable goals.
“Goals might be something like ‘I want to be able to get out of my chair without using the arm rest’ or ‘I want to be able to climb the stairs without having to stop’.”
Dr Henwood says committing to an exercise plan doesn’t have to be hard. Exercise can include walking further to the shops, gardening more regularly, walking the dog more often or sitting less during the day.
“A good day in the garden can challenge strength, balance, flexibility, and depending on what you have done and for how long, it can also improve your cardio-respiratory health,” he said. “These simple activities are beneficial when it comes to increasing your energy utilisation, challenging your muscles, lungs and heart, and are steps toward improving your health and enjoying the benefits into later life.”
To help with goal-setting Dr Henwood suggests visiting the “Ageing with Vitality” website, a free Queensland Health Stay on Your Feet initiative for older adults.
For more information please visit www.bluecare.org.au/AwarenessWeek.
Photo : Dr Tim Henwood, from the University of Queensland and Blue Care Research and Practice Development Centre joins Blue Care Respite Care clients in Brisbane for a morning of bocce and crochet. Photo courtesy of Blue Care