Sunday 22 September 2019

Over-65s 'need to exercise more' to stop frailty

  

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Older people need to maximise the "golden bullet" of exercise to fight frailty while also ensuring they are getting enough protein in their diet, according to an international expert.

Professor Dr Hans Hobbelen, of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, in the Netherlands, who will address a free public lecture on Monday, said 21.5pc of people aged 65 and over in Ireland are frail.

"Frailty defines the group of older people who are at highest risk of adverse outcomes such as falls, disability, admission to hospital or the need for long-term care. It is due to the normal ageing process and is accelerated by diseases and medication," he said.

"We can prevent some damage to our bodies with a healthy lifestyle and healthy nutrition, but cellular defects lead to an increase of inflammation and this accelerates the ageing process."

However, he said exercise is a golden bullet because "exercise and movement are anti-inflammatory".

Prof Hobbelen is inviting the public to attend the free lecture, organised by the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, at Trinity College in Dublin on Monday, at 7.30pm.

The lecture will address the concept of frailty and the opportunities of physiotherapy to combat frailty. He warned retirement can be unhealthy and older people should not sit "like a couch potato" just because they stop working.

In the Netherlands, cycling is encouraged for all ages and so Irish people should cycle more and should be encouraged to do so, especially due to its low impact on joints, he added.

More programmes are needed to persuade people to move and get physical activity into their lives and make it a habit, he said. They need a high intake of protein in their diets for their muscles, to keep them functioning and strong, he said.

Irish Independent

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