People who take regular exercise into old age are better able to cope with everyday activities and for longer; retain their independence and are not reliant on outside help; thereby saving themselves and society the cost of care and support. Everyday activities are generally divide up into ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) and IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living).

Cost of care and support

ADLs include basic repetitive tasks such as getting up, getting wash and dress; eating and drinking and going to the toilet independently; while IADLs our activities such as making telephone calls; shopping, cooking, doing the housework and running the household; taking medication correctly and handling monetary transactions.

The published study of over-65-year-olds shows that people who regularly do more exercise cope more easily with these tasks and can manage them independently for longer. Dorner sums up as follows: But, in truth, only about one third of the 3,300 Austrian volunteers do the recommended strength training and only around half of the over-65-year-olds complete the required endurance modules  and the experts estimate that these figures are transferable to the rest of Europe.

Taking medication correctly

The benefits of exercise are obvious: “People who take regular exercise and do strength training stay more independent; have greater self-worth and so require less support; which is not only beneficial to the individuals concerned but also to society as a whole; because they are not dependent on other people.

“Losing your independence triggers a chain reaction of negative consequences  that can lead to isolation;” stresses the MedUni Vienna public health expert. And Richard Crevenna, Head of the Department of Physical Medicine;  Rehabilitation and Occupational Medicine at MedUni Vienna, With many renowned publications, MedUni Vienna with its Center for Public Health is regarded as a European leader in this field and Thomas Dorner was also invited to write the editorial for the main topic of the Vienna Clinical Weekly.

Reaction of negative consequences

This was entitled “Health-related effects of physical training in the elderly” (“Implementation of patient-centred physical training for elderly people accessing routine health care”). In 2017; Dorner collaborated with MedUni Vienna nutritionist Karin Schindler to produce the guide book on this subject entitled “Health in Old Age, Maintaining Independence, Preventing Frailty”; jointly published by MANZ Verlag and MedUni Vienna
People who do the recommended units of exercise each week are three times more likely to be able to manage the ADLs and two times more likely to be able to perform the IADLs.” The recommendations are to do muscle strengthening exercises, such as squats with a chair (the classic exercise for elderly people) twice a week or strength training using a Thera band or in a fitness centre plus 150 minutes a week of moderate endurance exercise, such as brisk walking