Standing up and offering your seat to an older person is often taken as a sign of respect or courtesy to the elderly, but health professionals believe this is not helping senior citizens. In fact, experts maintain giving up your seat on public transport to someone older is unhealthy. Sir Muir Gray, a professor at Oxford University, advises the elderly to stand when they can. Staying fit even at an advanced age is crucial to remain healthy.
According to Gray, who is also Public Health England’s clinical adviser, older people should walk for at least ten minutes a day. Instead of taking the escalator or the elevator, they should opt for the stairs.
The best advice for the elderly, according to him, is not to put their feet up but to remain active. He suggests putting a second banister instead of a stairlift. He even went as far as to caution people who are concerned for the older members of the population.
“And think twice before giving up your seat on the bus or train to an older person. Standing up is great exercise for them.”
Putting older people in a position where they can stay active could be beneficial in the long term. Staying active could decrease the need for social care further in life. According to one article in the British Medical Journal, losing your fitness could make it more likely for you to require social care.
Middle-aged individuals and even the elderly can retain the same fitness level as those who are 10 years younger through regular exercise.
Staying fit can also reduce dementia and improve a person’s cognitive ability. As reported by The Independent, experts believe the general attitude people have towards the elderly should change. Older people should not be encouraged to just sit back and relax when it comes to exercise as they need “to be challenged.”
Experts believe older people should have greater access to exercise. They also want to shift the focus on support and rehabilitation rather than put older people in the hospital every time they get sick. They want people to understand that the demand for social care will decrease if more members of the senior community stay active.
As a closing note, experts pointed out the benefits older people can reap from staying active. Staying active, according to them, “may not only restore the person to the ability they enjoyed 10 years earlier, but it may make the crucial difference between living well at home or being dependent on social care or residential care.”
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