We all age, it is a part of life. Ageing affects us in all different ways. Some people fight against the slower pace and changes that come with ageing while others really embrace it. However you look at it, ageing is inevitable and what's more important is that we put our overall health first and make sure we can enjoy what we love doing for as long as we can.
Physical activity and exercise are a really important part in healthy ageing. Exercise is proven to be a great way of reducing your risk of developing health issues or managing existing health issues. Exercise or physical activity can improve sleep, brain function, strength, mental health and energy levels, meanwhile reducing your risk of falling, stress and anxiety.
One of the main excuses we hear in the clinic is that you don't have time, so why not incorporate physical activity into your day by walking somewhere instead of driving and catching up with your friend while walking instead of coffee.
It is recommended that Australians over the age of 65 years participate in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most but preferably all days of the week. If you think 30 minutes is too long, start smaller and work up to 30 minutes, but bottom line is you want to get moving.
Some is better than none, but more is better.
It is easy to lose contact with friends and family as we age but it is important to stay connected. Feeling lonely or isolated is found to increase your risk of stress, anxiety and depression and we all know this negatively affects your health. If COVID-19 and lock downs are anything to go by we can stay connected no matter what. So pick up the phone, organise a coffee, set up a zoom chat or go for a walk with your friend.
Challenge your mind
Keeping your mind active and challenging it is important to keep functioning the best you can. Believe it or not your brain is similar to your body in that if you don't use it you lose it. So to keep your brain busy you can try reading new books, learning new things, online brain challenges or the crossword puzzle in the paper.
Sleep is the time where your body is recovering and repairing and is vital for your body to feel good and stay free from injury. It is suggested that around 7-9 hours sleep is a great amount for your body to rest and improves your health outcomes.
Eating well and fuelling your body with the right nutrients is vital in ensuring your body can function optimally and age healthily. Try to avoid food with high amounts of saturated fats, sugar and refined carbohydrates and try to incorporate plenty of vegetables and wholegrain and organic foods.
At the end of the day it is all about a well rounded holistic approach to your health. It is important to stay active, find things to do you enjoy and ensure you have a good social connection around you.
If you need any further tips to your current situation our Exercise Physiologists would be happy to speak to help move you towards healthy aging.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
10 Top Tips for Exercising as you get older
Exercise and Physical activity is not just for the young, but important for any age.
1. Consult with your doctor first
Before starting an exercise program or increasing the intensity of your exercise program it is important to visit your GP and have a check of your blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health to ensure you are in a healthy condition to embark on a new exercise program. They can also refer you to the best possible person to support you – an Exercise Physiologist.
2. Reduce Alcohol
As we age our body can react differently to alcohol. By reducing your alcohol you are able to reduce the risk of long term health issues such as cancer and heart issues, and it can also help to reduce your overall energy intake, helping you to lose weight.
3. Find what motivates you
Find something that resonates with how exercise will help you, such as improving your golf game, being able to run around with and after the grandkids, or maybe it might be helping you to get down a little bit better to release that winning bowl. Whatever it is, use that as motivation, and in the process you will be improving your overall health and living longer!
4. Weight Training is not just for the young!
Weight training as an essential exercise for every age and you don’t need any equipment as you can use your bodyweight for exercises like squats, push-ups, or step ups. These will all help to increase muscle tone, maintain strength and help to maintain a healthy body weight. Weight training can also help to reduce the risk of injury, falls and fatigue.
5. Get Social!
Exercising with friends can be fun! Not only will you feel better from exercising, but you are more likely to keep it going. Even exercising with a buddy can help keep you accountable ensuring you both get your body moving and heart pumping.
6. Hit the water!
Hydrotherapy is a type of exercise therapy done in a heated pool. You can undertake it by yourself by doing a walking or resistance program, or join an aquafit class. The benefit of heated pools is that gentle, controlled movements in warm water allows people to steadily progress their range of movement, and the buoyancy means that your weight is partly supported so great for people with lower limb and back conditions..
7. Balance is a key component!:
As part of your overall exercise program it is important to challenge your balance. This helps to enhance your overall awareness, coordination, maintain muscle activity and tone, and help to prevent falls which can result in injuries, and unfortunately are very common as we age.
8. Try new things
There is no one size fits all exercise for everyone. There’s a wide selection of exercise or physical activity you can undertake from swimming, line dancing, bowls, walking soccer, walking the dog, the list goes on! The trick is finding something you enjoy and that you will stick to.
9. Monitor your intensity
Exercise is a great way to keep your heart happy and healthy and it’s a good idea to pay attention to your heart rate during exercise, but there are some cardiac medications which alter our heart rate response to exercise, so another way to monitor our intensity is just by how we feel and the talk test. If you can sing, it’s light intensity, if you can’t sing, but can talk constantly, it's moderate intensity, if you’re puffing and struggling to talk, it's high intensity. Work at the intensity that’s right for you.
10. Recovery is important
People find that their body does not recover quite as quickly as it once did so it’s important to take it easy and to allow yourself some recovery time. When we exercise, our body undergoes change to adapt to the stress that we place on it. This can result in some muscle soreness (known as delayed onset muscle soreness), fatigue and reduced muscle strength and power, so allowing your body to rest and recovery, including getting adequate sleep and hydrating is very important.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist