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Embracing active ageing: the benefits of exercise in aged care homes

Let’s get physical!

In aged care homes around the world, an exciting shift is underway.

Gone are the days of sedentary living and idle afternoons drinking tea. Today, aged care facilities are embracing the philosophy of active ageing, recognising the profound benefits that exercise can bring to residents’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

And Mercy Community is no exception.

Our aged care residents enjoy regular exercise classes, both seated and standing, several times a week through our allied health providers, as well as plenty of fun physical activities including mini golf, ten pin bowling, walks, and gardening.

Mercy Community’s Occupational Therapist and interim Allied Health Lead Marcus Reed said the exercise classes at our Brisbane aged care facilities were extremely popular, particularly on a Friday afternoon.

Residents get to use light weights (500g-2kg), pool noodles, balls, and badminton soft style rackets.

“At Mercy Community, we believe in the power of movement to enrich the lives of older adults in our care, fostering vitality and well-being,” he said.

“Staying active isn’t just about physical health; it’s about preserving independence, promoting social connections, and nurturing a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

“Every step, stretch, and smile counts. By encouraging activity, we empower older adults to embrace life to the fullest, regardless of age or ability.”

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining mobility, strength, and flexibility, especially as we age.

In aged care homes, structured exercise programs tailored to residents’ needs can help prevent falls, improve balance, and alleviate joint stiffness.

From gentle chair exercises to group fitness classes, there are a myriad of ways to keep residents moving and thriving.

What’s more, exercise is not just beneficial for the body; it’s also a powerful tool for boosting mental health and cognitive function.

Indeed, research has revealed that in aged care homes, activities such as walking, gardening, and dancing can stimulate the brain, enhance mood, and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Regular physical activity can also improve sleep quality, leading to better overall well-being.

Marcus added: “One of the often-overlooked benefits of exercise in aged care homes is its ability to foster social connections and combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

“Group exercise classes and outdoor walks provide opportunities for residents to interact, build friendships, and support each other on their wellness journey. These social connections are vital for maintaining a sense of belonging and community.

“Above all, incorporating exercise into aged care routines empowers residents to take control of their health and well-being. By encouraging physical activity and providing access to

supportive resources, aged care homes empower residents to lead active, fulfilling lives, regardless of age or ability.”

How to exercise safely in later life

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