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Dublin: 22°C Friday 23 July 2021

Less than half of those in their 60s do over 2.5 hours of exercise per week

Only 18 per cent of the over 70s engage in high levels of physical activity.

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OLDER PEOPLE ARE being urged to get more active after a cross-border study shows that engagement in regular activity sees a fall-off as we age.

The study finds that just 37 per cent of people in the Republic aged between 60-64 engage in the recommended weekly minimum of 150 minutes per week.

The situation is a lot worse in the north where just 22 per cent do the 2.5 hours of activity.

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The new research carried out by  Dr Elaine Murtagh, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick also finds that the numbers decline further for older age groups with only 7 per cent of over 75s in Northern Ireland and 18 per cent in the Republic engaging in high levels of physical activity.

In addition women are on average 75 per cent less likely to be sufficiently active than men.

Examining the relationship between health and physical activity among older people, the report finds moderate to high levels of physical activity are associated with health and cognitive benefits with some research suggesting that just 15 minutes of outdoor walking four times a week can reduce mortality by up to 50 per cent.

The report highlights the need to develop innovative programmes to encourage those who are most inactive including older women to take up some physical activity.

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Dr Murtagh the research suggests a significant decline in physical activity as we age.

“This is particularly true of women and those in the oldest age groups. Given the links between physical and mental well-being and physical activity it is important that older people are encouraged to continue physical exercise as they age”.

She said that sports are just one domain where older people can be active and can be a valuable social outlet but simple things like brisk regular walking can also bring great benefits to the lives of older people.

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