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Elderly need to exercise more, health officials say

Thursday 31 Jan 2013 11:56 a.m.

Tennis, shopping, brisk walks and gold are all examples of good exercise (file)

Tennis, shopping, brisk walks and gold are all examples of good exercise (file)

Older New Zealanders need to spend time exercising if they want to live longer and healthier lives, say health officials.

The Ministry of Health has released a set of physical activity guidelines to encourage people over 65 to spend less time sitting down.

Chief medical officer Dr Don Mackie says elderly should be spending at least 30 minutes out of their chairs a day, doing an activity that gets their blood pumping.

Grandparents who get out for a brisk walk, a bike ride, go for a swim or play with grandchildren will feel the health benefits.

“Ideally, people will be adding in activities that promote flexibility and balance – such as carrying shopping, stretching, and golf,” says Dr Mackie.

Other household activities can help too, and daily chores like walking to the shops, vacuuming or gardening “all add up”.

The practice, along with good nutrition, can stave off certain chronic conditions.

The ministry will be producing a publically available version of the guidelines, which can also be viewed online.

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