It really is true – you’re only as old as you feel! Keeping yourself active is the key ingredient in feeling young.
It’s never too late to start exercising. Studies show there are several reasons why we should keep active at every age. Gentle to moderate exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the heart, boost energy levels, help control blood sugar levels and it’s a natural mood elevator.
As we get older, exercising can seem daunting. There is more risk that you may fall or become breathless – but as you exercise more, your body will become stronger and you should start to feel more confident. Soon you will notice a long-lasting change. Increased energy levels, greater flexibility, better breathing capacity and a general feeling of improved wellbeing are all likely outcomes from regular exercise. You might also find you sleep better.
Don’t feel upset if you can only workout for a short time, just start with just five minutes a day and gradually work up to 30 minutes.
It’s wise to seek medical clearance from your general practitioner before starting an exercise program. Your GP may also suggest simple activities to help you begin.
Aquatic exercise is non weight-bearing. It’s a simple and low-intensity way for mature adults to work out – particularly those who suffer with aching joints. Using water buoyancy can help to support and target specific muscle groups as you walk forward, backwards, or sideways. Aquatic workouts are quite likely to be a pain-free way to increase your flexibility.
Joining an aqua-aerobics class adds significant benefits. Not only will your instructor be able to suggest exercises appropriate to your body and its level of fitness, but you will also have the opportunity to meet others and enjoy your exercise program as a group activity.
Your home is your gym
You don’t even need to sign up to a gym to start exercising. Your home is your own private gym. Strengthen your muscles by gardening (digging and weeding, mowing the lawn) and doing other housework (vacuuming, washing, ironing)
There are lots of exercises you can do in your own home too. This simple example – a wall sit – is one of the best ways to tone your legs and core all at the same time. Stand with your back toward a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your upper back on the wall and sit down into a squat. Lower yourself until your legs are at a 90-degree angle and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat a few times. Gradually increase the time you can hold the squat and the number of repetitions you do.
Socialising is key
Good social relationships can strengthen your overall health and wellbeing and help you achieve greater enjoyment in life. Social interactions are particularly important for older adults. Some studies suggest that those who maintain close friendship groups also live longer, on average, than those who are socially isolated. Social interactions help keep our mental and physical health at its peak and boost the immune system.
There are lots of options for older adults. Why not try ballroom dancing, social tennis, a yoga or Tai Chi class or join a walking or cycling club. Activities like Tai Chi and yoga focus on your movements only, you are never too old to begin and there are added benefits associated because these exercises can induce a state of mental calm, clarity and inner peace.
Good fitness can be achieved at any age. It can help prolong and improve the quality of your life.