Healthy Aging is a Lifelong Investment

Healthy aging isn’t just for the old. Starting at age 25 we lose approximately 10% of our functional mobility – strength, balance and cardiorespiratory fitness – per decade.  More and more of us have sedentary jobs and we need to plan activity to have an active lifestyle. Some experts contend that sitting is the new smoking and inactivity itself is a condition.

Maintaining a healthy weight is another aspect of healthy aging that affects all generations.  Physical activity in combination with a proper diet reduces risk of obesity. This is important because obesity is a known major risk factor for several chronic diseases and is now starting to be considered a chronic disease itself.

The Wellness Institute has been helping people achieve and maintain a healthy weight for almost 20 years. Participants in our specialized weight loss program, Fitter Firmer Faster, have lost the equivalent of 121,065 pounds over 7 years.  Plus, over 6 million visits by Wellness members who burn an average of 200 calories per visit translates into 342,857 pounds of weight that has been lost or prevented.

While younger participants may be more focused on the preventative aspects of healthy aging, it is important to note it is never too late to start. Health benefits can be gained for anyone regardless of their current condition. Studies have shown that under proper supervision, even frail older adults and those with chronic illness can safely participate in and benefit from exercise.

While those with significant health challenges can improve their health and prevent further illness and disability by getting active, eating healthy and changing behaviours, they often have unique requirements on their path to wellness. They can require adapted programs or even direct supervision during exercise to ensure success and safety.

Wellness Institute has been instrumental in filling this need. Our health and lifestyle experts have:

  • provided self-management education for over 3400 people with chronic disease
  • trained healthcare professionals and volunteers about chronic disease from all across Manitoba to help more people learn to make healthy choices.
  • taught 7600 cardiac rehabilitation patients how to prevent an additional heart attack,
  • shown 5000 people with diabetes how to control their sugar levels with exercise and healthy eating.

Healthy, active aging is not just about maintaining physical function as you age. About 5% of older adults will develop Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.  Regular physical activity combined with a variety of brain challenging tasks dramatically reduces risk of dementia and age-related memory loss.

The Wellness Institute in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society offers a Minds in Motion program that combines these activities and is geared for individuals with early-mid stage Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

Find out more about current programs and support services at our Healthy Aging page and look for more articles and information to come in our news section.