Ageing is a process that affects us all. As much as many of us would like to stop the clock, there is simply no way to bring time to a halt, and as we get older the effects of that time become increasingly challenging. “Healthy Ageing” is often the best way to combat these challenges, and perhaps this is why it was a major theme at the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) National Conference in Adelaide at the end of 2014.
The important of exercise in the healthy ageing process was discussed in depth at the conference. We’ve all heard about the positive health benefits exercise can bring to people of any age, but these benefits are often exacerbated in older people. The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults recommends that those falling into this category should be aiming to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week, as well as some light resistance training, streching and balance exercises. Following these guidelines will help to protect older Australians againsthealth issues they are most susceptible to, such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, depression and even cognitive decline.
Nutrition was also focused on as a crucial aspect of healthy ageing. Ngaire Hobbins, author of “Eat to Cheat Ageing” was a guest speaker at the conference. She spoke of how an older Australians diet should differ from a standard healthy diet, but still aim to maintain a balance of all food group. She said it was important for those in their 70s and 80s to enjoy full fat milk, fresh butter and high protein foods.
Dr Briony Dow, President of the AAG, said the conference was “a fantastic opportunity for researchers and practitioners to get together and exchange ideas, build evidence into practice, and also to build capacity in the gerontology field”.