Exercise, even late in life, has many advantages

Exercise routines are not modified because of age alone, but should be modified if a person has chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease ("Exercise routines must be modified as we age" by Mr Norman Wee Sin Chuan; last Friday).

It is not true that aerobic activities such as jogging, brisk walking or cycling train only the lower limbs and will cause a person above 50 to "have difficulty nourishing the upper body with oxygen and nutrients".

Instead, scientific evidence has shown that physical activities can have wide-ranging benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health and decreasing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoporosis and colon cancer.

These effects can be seen even in people who start increasing their level of physical activity later in their middle age.

The Health Promotion Board, together with most other health authorities, including the United States' Centres for Disease Control, American College of Sports Medicine and Britain's Department of Health, recommends moderate intensity aerobic activities, such as brisk walking and cycling for 150 minutes a week, in bouts of at least 10 minutes or more for the general healthy population, even among the elderly.

We are happy to follow these guidelines in our recommendations.

Lim Ang Tee (Dr)

Director (Public Outreach)

Exercise Is Medicine (Singapore)

FORUM NOTE: Exercise Is Medicine (Singapore) is a not-for-profit group dedicated to making physical activity and exercise a standard part of preventing and treating diseases.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Exercise, even late in life, has many advantages'. Print Edition | Subscribe