New findings presented by researchers from Northumbria University at the British Science Festival show that those aged 55 and over are more likely to complete exercise programmes recommended by their GPs.
The study looked at 2000 participants in Northumbria, where the biggest reason for exercise referrals is obesity. 55% of those aged over 55 completed the 24-week programme, more than any other age group.
Researchers believe they are more motivated to complete the programme because they can see their health deteriorating, and believe that exercise will help them stay healthy for longer. They may be right too, as an inactive lifestyle is widely recognised as increasing the risks of hypertension (high blood pressure) and type II diabetes, to name but a few.
These GP-recommended exercise programmes are funded by the NHS in a bid to keep people healthy and out of hospital, and they are given to people with a wide range of medical conditions as well as those with an inactive lifestyle. This new research may now be used by healthcare professionals to better target the programmes to those most likely to derive benefit from them.
It won’t be surprising to many people that seeing your own health deteriorate is great motivation to exercise and do something about it. Just like not being able to do up your favourite jeans or having to take a break on a long flight of stairs, there’s no better ‘encouragement’ than the realisation that you’re going downhill. No matter how many people tell you to do something about your health, the best motivation will always come from within.