Staying Active as We Age
Everyone no matter what their age, benefits from frequent exercise. Over 65s now account for the fastest growing age group joining gyms in the UK. Over 70s visit the gym more times in the average month than anyone else. The rate of change is hard to believe isn’t it? The growing importance of staying active as we age is not lost on the older generations. Having spent their entire lives active a lack of motivation is not something often aimed at them and it seems for good reason. As the figures show, many have made the leap into gym life quite seamlessly.
But it’s not just the over 65s making the effort. We all know regular exercise is good for the heart, body and mind. It’s also a great opportunity to get out of the house and make new friends. Perhaps you haven’t exercised for a while and you want to build up your confidence before joining a gym. You could walk around the park or jog if you feel able. Encourage a friend to join you. Walk and talk instead of inactive chats together. Perhaps you have a four-legged friend who can help. They also benefit from regular exercise and love a good play session.
But what actual health benefits will regular exercise have for you? There is good evidence to suggest people who exercise are less at risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes and dementia. Maintaining a healthy body weight and replacing body fat with stronger muscle can help to prevent falls. Balance improving exercises can really help. Watch this video for some tips. Exercise will improve your energy levels and stamina, allowing you to do other things you’ve always enjoyed and taken for granted. This might be socialising, visiting new places or just playing with the grandchildren. It’s also proven to help with depression and stress as it releases endorphins which triggers a positive feeling in the body. The so called “runners high” often used to describe the feeling after rigorous exercise.
There are so many different activities and groups you could join it’s probably a good idea to join a few and see which one you like the most. Dance classes, Yoga and pilates, walking and running groups, Zumba, spinning and loads more. Tai Chi is very popular where movement exercises are quite slow and measured, centred around good breathing techniques and focussing the mind. It can really help with balance, strength and posture.
Try seeing what’s available in your area and pop along for a chat. Active Leeds is a great place to start if you are 45 or over and live in the city. No matter where you live you’ll find similar local groups waiting to help. It doesn’t matter how unfit you think you are, how much you feel like an imposter on that first visit, you’ll soon see everyone is the same as you. Just wanting to get healthier and have some fun doing it!
Staying Active as We Age