Elderly should have more exercise and sunshine, experts say

One fifth of local elderly over 65 suffer from degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, and many suffer from osteoporosis – this could be reduced with more exercise and sun.

A survey covering 1,200 local elderly over 65 years of age has found that more than one fifth suffer from sarcopenia, a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality and strength.

The problem can cause a difficulty in fulfilling routine gestures and a poor balance, which results in falls, medical experts told a health lecture on healthcare for the elderly in winter.

“The disease is preventable and controllable," Dr Yu Zhuowei, president of Huadong Hospital, said. "Elderly people must have enough nutrition intake, especially in winter. High-quality proteins like milk, egg and beef are helpful as they are good for skeletal muscle. Intake of vitamin C, D and carotenoid are also useful to prevent sarcopenia."

The doctor added that an astonishing 40 percent of people over the age of 70 don't have enough protein intake.

Experts also encouraged the elderly to have regular exercise and enjoy more sunshine in the winter. 

Yu says that a survey covering 20,000 residents over 65 years old in ten communities in Shanghai found that 22.19 percent of females and 5.46 of males have osteoporosis.

Despite the temptation to stay warm indoors during winter, it's not very beneficial to the body, he added.


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