Hugh Bethell, Clinical Director of the Cardiac Rehab Staywell programme writes:
"Congratulations to John Hayman on his one hundredth birthday – and congratulations for continuing to keep fit with us at such an age. John is our first centenarian exerciser but I am sure that he will not be the last – and nor should he be!
The benefits of regular exercise are legion. It reduces the risk of a large number of medical conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, several types of cancer, osteoporosis, falls and fractures. Moreover exercise is a highly effective treatment for any of these conditions once they have developed. Regular exercise lengthens lifespan but more importantly it reduces the duration of ill health and dependency at the end of life. This period of ill health and weakness is known as frailty and is an increasing cause of inability to self-care in the twilight years. It matters little if a 50 year old is thirty percent less fit than is possible, but for the eighty or ninety year old it may make the difference between being able to perform normal activities of daily living (getting up and dressed, washing, cooking etc) or needing a carer to help retain independence. Often this level of disability leads to admission to a care home.
The Department of Health has made recommendations for the level of physical activity for maintaining good health. Only about 30% of the general population meet these recommendations and the percentage falls steadily with increasing age. By the age of 75 the figure has fallen to 6%! This is very disappointing because the older we get the more important exercise becomes if we are to have a happy, healthy, active and independent old age.
The Cardiac Rehab Staywell programme is only one way for older people to maintain physical fitness. Walking for Health, the Sports Centre Health and Fun Club, the GP Referral for Exercise scheme are some of the alternatives. However if anyone does wish to join our programme, please contact us on 01420 544794 for more details."