Older Australians more unfit now than seniors of 25 years ago

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New research shows that older Australians may be healthier and living longer than they did 25 years ago, but their fitness levels are worse and they weigh a lot more.

The research from South Australia’s Flinders University examined more than 100 people aged between 60 and 70 years.

It replicated a study undertaken in 1991, when participants were tested on an exercise bike and had health factors such as blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels examined.

Participants were also asked to submit how much they exercise.

“As we all know, Australians are getting older, we’ve got an ageing population, so it’s really important for us to try and work out the trends in health and fitness over time,” said study leader Dr Lucy Lewis.

“We were really interested in the comparison between [the] 1991 study and now 2017 to have a look and see what was happening.”

One 60-year-old participant, who walked for 30 minutes a day and went to the gym three times a week, returned excellent results. She was told her fitness age was in her 20s and her health age was in her 40s.

The study revealed that people nowadays are heavier and taller, with body mass index (BMI) readings in the overweight category.

However, older adults these days have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

And even though the participants had increased physical activity, their fitness levels had decreased – most likely because, in general, they are leading a more sedentary lifestyle.

“Australians are now perhaps more sedentary than ever, and they’re also spending increasing amounts of time sitting during the day, watching television, at a desk or using a computer,” said Dr Lewis.

“That could perhaps go some way to explaining why people in our study were actually participating in more physical activity but had lower fitness.”

Read more at www.abc.net.au

Do you get enough exercise? How’s your health? Could you be doing more to make yourself fitter?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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