Exercise and weight loss for older people
It's a well known fact that the metabolism slows down with age, so older people can find it a lot more difficult to lose weight than their younger counterparts.
Team this with depleting energy resources, the stiffening of joints and other functional limitations and exercise looks like an almost impossible feat.
But this is not the case – there are plenty of exercises out there that are suitable for, and can be enjoyed by, those in the older age bracket.
"Getting older is not an illness. Ageing is not a disease. You can be incredibly well and fit in your 60s, and indeed in your 70s," said Emma Soames, editor-at-large for Saga Magazine.
Physical activity not only helps this age group to lose weight but keeps them healthy in a number of other ways and aids them in staying supple and mobile.
What types of exercise are best for seniors?
According to the Department of Health, seven out of ten men and eight out of ten women aged over 75 are inactive.
One of the reasons for this could be that they haven't yet found a form of exercise that is right for them.
A report from the Department of Health, called Better Health in Old Age, states: "Older people should take particular care to keep moving and retain their mobility through daily activity.
"Additionally, specific activities that promote improved strength, co-ordination and balance are particularly beneficial for older people."
This suggests that exercise classes such as yoga and pilates and dance sessions could be beneficial for seniors.
These serve not only to improve overall health, but increase social interaction in an age group that can often become isolated.
"Walking is probably the best exercise of all. If you have shoulder problems, you can bring in gentle neck and shoulder exercises and go through the motions of each movement," said Alison Wyndham, physiotherapist and founder of the Wyndham Centres.
"The more exercise you have in a gentle way, the better," she concluded.
Other than weight loss, what benefits does exercise have for the elderly?
Physical activity can help prevent the onset of a number of medical conditions and it can also improve emotional well-being.
Back in 2009, researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada revealed that aerobic exercise has a number of heart health benefits for older adults with type 2 diabetes.
This form of exercise improves the elasticity in the arteries, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Earlier this year, the American Geriatrics Society and the British Geriatric Society updated their guidelines and stated that Tai Chi sessions can prevent older people from falling.
This is because the gentle form of exercise builds muscle mass and improves balance and stability.
Way back in 2006, scientists from Ohio State University found that regular exercise can increase the body's ability to heal wounds, which normally slows down as people age, by as much as 25 per cent.
Rewind four years and The Gerontological Society of America revealed that exercise can improve the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in older adults.
Need to hear more? Well how about this – research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences just last year showed that walking for 40 minutes a few times a week can improve memory in older adults.
Basically, there's no excuse not to get off the sofa and start exercising, whatever your age. So get going and you'll notice the benefits in no time!