Over 50s encouraged to prioritise health and fitness 2024

With Australians now living longer than ever before, those aged over 50 are being encouraged to prioritise their health and fitness goals in 2024, with statistics revealing that less than 20% of older individuals are meeting the recommended physical activity guidelines.

Chris Theron, accredited exercise physiologist and Centre Manager at Caloundra’s Avanti Health Centre, said it was essential for those over 50 to increase strength, bone health, and social connections in order to sustain their overall wellbeing.

“Unfortunately, we know that many people over the age of 50 are not as active as they could be, and as a result, we’re seeing an increase in chronic conditions,” said Mr Theron.

“Engaging in regular exercise beyond the age of 50 offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing.

“Regular physical activity contributes to improved cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

“It also assists in maintaining and increasing bone density which lowers the risk of osteoporosis and fractures and helps to improve overall strength and mobility.”

Avanti Health Centre Manager Chris Theron with Avanti Member Gae Howell

Caloundra local Gae Howell joined Avanti Health Centre in January 2023 and now does a one-hour workout three days week. As an avid golfer, Ms Howell said the tailored exercise program helped enhance her mobility following a back injury and facilitated her return to the golf course. 

“I have suffered from arthritis in my knees for a long time, and just over two years ago, I also had a lower back injury and was unable to golf for eight months,” said Ms Howell, whose sister also attends Avanti Health Centre.

“I eventually recovered from the injury and returned to golf however even doing simple tasks like mopping the floor would cause discomfort afterwards. 

“I joined Avanti with the goal of wanting to strengthen my core and back muscles to help ensure no further injury and get back some sense of normality.”

Within the span of three months, Ms Howell noticed tremendous improvements in both her knees and back. She continues to feel the positive effects today, alongside an increase in her balance, strength, and flexibility.

“I could finally turn properly and do lots of things that I previously hadn’t been able to or had done in pain,” continued Ms Howell.

“Not only has my golf improved, but my knees are so good that I can now walk the golf course instead of using the golf cart like I used to.

“It has truly made such a big difference in my life.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) physical activity survey, only 19 per cent of Australians aged 55-64 met the physical activity guidelines and recommendations in 2021.

With the new year now in full swing, Mr Theron said there has never been a better time for over 50s to prioritise their health for the year ahead.

“Our state-of-the-art automated equipment is designed with over 50s in mind, and our team of exercise physiologists conduct health checks, create tailored programs for our members, and are available at all times to offer support,” said Mr Theron. 

“Gae is a perfect example of someone who was looking to boost mobility and strength for injury recovery. After her initial assessment, we were able to determine that she had no flexibility in her lower back, which is why she couldn’t turn properly. 

“We then looked at her health history and goals, and were able to develop a customised program designed to support mobility in her back and knees, which has not only assisted her golfing but helped with undertaking her day-to-day tasks.”

Mr Theron said taking control of your health doesn’t require drastic measures.

“Avanti Health Centres were founded to create an inclusive space to positively promote the importance of exercise in aging and social connections,” continued Mr Theron.

“Even small changes can bring about a significant improvement in quality of life and overall wellbeing. It’s never too late to start.”

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