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Strength and balance activities deliver lifelong health benefits, says Public Health England

4 July 2018 - 4:15pm

All adults should do strengthening and balancing exercises twice a week alongside aerobic activity, says a new review of evidence published by Public Health England.

Dancing as exericse

Dancing was among the activities found to be promote muscle and bone strengthening and balance

All adults should do strengthening and balancing exercises twice a week alongside aerobic activity, says a new review of evidence published by Public Health England.

The activities found to have most benefit include dance, ball games, racket sports, Nordic walking and resistance training, the agency says in a report published on 4 July.

Ruth ten Hove, the CSP’s head of research and development, provided expert opinion to the review and warmly welcomed the report.

‘As a profession, we need to make sure that the strengthening and balancing recommendations are as visible as the physical activity guidance for older adults of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week,’ she said.

The report says there is a need to tailor the correct types of muscle and bone strengthening and balancing activities to each individual’s experience, fitness and functional ability.

A physiotherapist or exercise instructor should supervise frailer older people, or those with a high falls risk or multiple comorbid conditions that affect balance or strength, the review advises.

People with cognitive impairment can benefit from supervised strength and balance exercise for about 60 minutes a day, two to three days a week, to improve physical function.

Tai Chi and yoga show evidence of efficacy and safety for those with mild to moderate cognitive impairment.

The report says that between the ages of 18 to 24 years, muscle and bone strengthening and balance activities maximise bone and muscle gains. Between the ages of 40 to 50 years, these activities maintain strength and slow the natural decline; and in people over 65 they preserve strength and maintain independence.

Public Health England used data from 20 systematic reviews, including some narrative meta-analyses. It found consistent evidence that preserving muscular strength and power in middle and older age was associated with a reduced risk of mortality from all causes.

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