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APA refutes Reader’s Digest article on seniors’ exercise

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is urging seniors to tailor exercise to their ability rather than age.

Counter to advice in a recent Reader’s Digest article, the APA advises that exercise programs should be based on individual ability and needs, rather than age, and is urging the publication to retract the article ‘14 Exercises to Never Do After Age 50′. (The title of the article online has since been changed.)

APA managing director of community therapy Scott Lynch said the focus should be on positivity and the benefits that physical activity brings, like managing osteoporosis and pain.

“And with the older population you need to be thinking of fall management and what’s safe for older people,” Lynch said.

What sort of exercises should be prescribed to seniors?

That’s the question we should be asking, Lynch said.

He suggested resistance-based activities that are moderately challenging.

Physiotherapist Meg Lowry, chair of the Queensland Gerontology committee for the APA, highlighted the prevalence of ageism in our community.

“It is important that we recognise we all have the potential to make inaccurate assumptions about what is and is not appropriate for a person’s age. But there is a strong body of evidence to suggest that heavy strength training, challenging balance exercises and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are in fact advantageous for many older adults.

“In some cases, 80-year-olds can be capable of more than the average 40-year-old, including heavy gym-based exercise. It’s our role as physiotherapists to treat every person as an individual, based on their needs rather than age.”

And here to tell us more is Lynch.

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One comment

  1. That is so true. Everyone is an individual and if strength and balance exercises are progressed improvements can be quite remarkable.

    Assuming that all 80 year olds are frail does a real disservice to many people. In many of our sessions we have people in their nineties who perform at a level of some 40 year olds.

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