It’s never too late to start moving! In fact, exercise is beneficial to us all, whatever our age. As we age, inactivity can have a greater impact on our health and can subsequently impact our quality of life.
(There is a happy ending to this one, promise!)
One of the greatest fears for getting older is that we will lose our independence and/or quality of life – both of which can unfortunately take many forms and be caused by a number of factors…
Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength and is thought to effect approximately 10% of those aged 50 and over. This loss of muscle mass and strength can increase the risk of falls, fractures and breaks. One of the best ways to prevent and even reverse sarcopenia is to use resistance training (which will maintain and increase strength and muscle mass) alongside regular activity that gets your muscles moving like a jog or brisk walk.
Each year, around 30% of people aged 65 and over will have a fall, which can result in serious injury. There were 57,712 hip fractures in England in 2014/15, and falls account for over 4 million hospital bed days every year. Maintaining and improving muscle strength and ability to balance is crucial in reducing this risk. It is also critical in helping people live independently as they get older.
Heart disease (also known as Cardiovascular disease) refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Being physically active is a major step toward good heart health and is one of the most effective tools for strengthening the heart muscle, keeping weight under control and preventing artery damage from high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
Exercise is not only important for strong muscles, but for strong bones too! Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced causing them to become more porous and fragile. Exercise is important to help maintain bone density.
The Alzheimer’s Society have concluded that “of all the lifestyle changes that have been studied, taking regular physical exercise appears to be one of the best things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting dementia”.
Sadly, the list doesn’t stop there… type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression. So, is this any good news to come of all this doom and gloom?
The NHS state that “as people get older and their bodies decline in function, physical activity helps to slow that decline… it's important they remain active or even increase their activity as they get older”. Everybody is fighting against time, but we don’t have to face being old, frail, weak and stiff as inevitable. We have the ability to reduce our own risks of any of the above – but this comes down to our own life choices both now and later in life.
It is never too late to start exercising and moving more. Taking part of a variety of different forms of exercise will help to significantly reduce our risks of the the above: cardiovascular exercise to keep the heart strong, resistance training to improve muscles strength… etc
These don’t need to be daunting prospects and we are always here to answer any questions you may have on what is best for you. But remember, any form of physical exercise is better than nothing!
Lee & the Team