Health Canada states that, “being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your independence and quality of life as you age”. In 2011 the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) developed the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults 65 years and older. The guideline states that, older adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity a week, in sessions of 10 minutes or more. Now that we know how much physical activity is needed, which activity is best?
The best physical activity is a personal choice. Cost, accessibility and suitability play a large role in choosing which activities to engage in. The important part is staying motivated to consistently complete the recommended 150 minutes a week. The Public Health Agency of Canada has created a list of useful physical activity tips for older adults. The rewards for exercising regularly are numerous. Health Canada reports, that for older adults, physical activity maintains strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, and can help reduce the risk of falls.
Not surprisingly, walking is Ontario’s most popular physical activity according to the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion. The physical, cognitive and emotional benefits of walking are well documented – not to mention it’s free. Now you can take the physical benefits of walking even further by pole walking. Pole walking is simply walking with specialized ski poles. As the Mayo Clinic points out – the benefits of walking poles are impressive:
- The arm movement associated with walking poles adds intensity to your aerobic workout, which helps you burn more calories.
- Walking poles improve balance and stability.
- Walking poles help you maintain proper posture, especially in the upper back, and may help to strengthen upper back muscles.
- Walking poles take some of the load off your lower back, hips and knees, which may be helpful if you have arthritis or back problems.
Join us for an interactive Nordic Pole Walking demonstration and talk with Dr. Klaus Schwanbeck, sports scientist and founder of Germany’s Health Prevention Network and Nordixx Canada. The Sheridan Elder Research Centre’s Lifestyle Guidelines for Vital Aging Event is on July 18.