Over-70s encouraged to do competitive sport13th August 2012
A conference in Scotland held this week will state that people aged over 70 should take inspiration from the Olympics to play sport.
Dawn Skelton, professor of ageing and health at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "If you are not fit, you cannot maintain an independent and active lifestyle. For example, if you are not fit and you fall, you cannot get up again whereas if you are active, you can."
Attendees of the Active Ageing Congress will be informed that not enough older people are participating in exercise, which makes them more frail than they should be.
Professer Skelton added: "When you are younger, and up to the age of about 60, you have some reserve and you can get away with being a little bit unfit. But if you get breathless walking at a slow pace, that is not ill health or disease, that is unfitness."
Over-75-year-olds are advised to take 30 minutes of "moderate" activity every day but the audience at the conference will be informed that just 7% of the elderly reach that target.
A special guest at the conference will be Dr Charles Eugster, a 93-year-old rowing champion who only started the sport at the age of 78.
He told BBC Scotland: "My plan for the next few years is to change the world."
"My trainer and I have shown that it is possible to rebuild bodies at almost any age and any older persons life can be rebuilt. It proves that we old are not worthless, we can be recycled and something new made of us."
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