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The Benefits of Exercise

Firstly, how often do you exercise? Go for a walk to the shop or around the local park? Play bowls? Go for a cycle on a sunny day? There’s been much emphasis in recent months on childhood obesity. This includes concern over the number of children staring at screens instead of playing football, climbing trees, and running races.

So, we all know that exercise is important for everyone. Not just for physical health. Getting out in the fresh air (as compared to running on a treadmill) puts us in good humour, lightens our mood. It makes us feel glad to be alive. What are the best outdoor or indoor activities for the elderly do you think and what are their benefits?

So, would it surprise you to hear that in the Republic of Ireland, 33% of adults over 55 do not engage in physical activity at all or at a very low level?  In Northern Ireland, the percentage of adults not partaking in reasonable levels of exercise is 55%. (Source:

The study was led by Dr. Frank Doyle of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. They wanted to see more people exercising regularly. The study showed that taking a walk, a swim, a run, or a cycle (or partaking in a hobby) prevents depression and also reduces pain.  While pain may be viewed by many as a reason to not take exercise, Dr Doyle has recommended that clinicians encourage patients to take physical activity irrespective of their pain levels as the exercise will actually help with the pain levels in the majority of cases. Activities for the elderly are not just good for mental health but are too important for physical health and pain reduction to ignore.

Now, we are not suggesting that you go for a run if you are in pain. Do check this with your doctor first.  However, the research shows that a daily walk outside the house is therapeutic for many reasons.  Realistically, it can be very easy to put it off if the day is looking murky. Therefore, it can be much easier to motivate yourself if you have an exercise buddy. That buddy might be a dog that needs a daily walk, a friend you arrange to meet or a carer. Here at Comfort Keepers, our carer services vary from Alzheimer and Disability care to providing companionship and conversation to helping with recreational activities. Don’t let hobbies and fun activities go by. Let’s play a part in the full enjoyment of life. We can help in small ways as well as taking on a larger role.

So, what is your favourite outdoor activity? Golf? Walking? Bowls? We’d love to hear.

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