We all want to be best we can physically, no matter how old we are. There is a link between our lifespan and our lifestyle choices. Research shows that staying active can lower the risk of developing dementia, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and even some forms of cancer.
The NHS recommends that all adults over the age of 60 should be exercising for moderate periods, ideally 30 minutes a day or a total of 2.5 hours a week. However, if you are already staying active, increasing the intensity of your workouts and lowering these to 75 minutes a week can be as advantageous as 150 minutes of moderate movement.
Our metabolism slows with age due to muscle loss and inactivity, so taking up exercise can prevent this drop and help to maintain a healthy weight. Not only can keeping fit keep you trim, but it can also boost your energy levels. Exercise, particularly aerobic, increases the efficiency of the flow of blood and oxygen within our body, which boosts the function of organs and our cardiovascular health.
As we age, the risk of falling due to imbalance increases. To combat this, at least one hour a week should be dedicated to improving muscle strength. More stability not only reduces your chance of falling, preventing injuries, but it also helps with general mobility and will make everyday activities far more manageable. Tai Chi, water based, Zumba Gold, and chair-based exercise classes can help you to hone and strengthen your balance skills.
Being active daily helps to maintain cognitive function, improves mood and self-esteem and can prevent some of the adverse effects of the brain’s ageing process. Several studies have found that aerobic exercise in older adults can have positive results, including reduced rates of dementia (up to 30 per cent) and can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (by up to 45 per cent). As well as long term benefits to brain function, short term benefits have been proven to increase attention, improve memory and increase the ability to process information.
Immunity starts to decline as we age, leaving some older adults more susceptible to infection and illness. Moderate exercise can help to clear the lungs and airways of bacteria and raise your body temperature, creating a similar environment to a fever, which can fight viruses and cause a change in antibodies that assist the immune system in fighting disease.
For those worried about, or suffering from, painful joints, activity in water is a great way to reduce the pressure during a workout. As your body weighs up to 75% less in the pool, classes like Aqua aerobics and Aqua Zumba can be a great choice to stay fit or to reintroduce exercise.
Loneliness and isolation are problems that affect people of all ages and walks of life. However, for some groups such as the elderly and people with disabilities, feelings of solitude can be particularly severe. This, in turn, can cause a spike in cortisol levels (the stress hormone) which can increase blood pressure. Trying Pilates or yoga can help to stretch and strengthen your muscles whilst also easing stress and giving you much needed time to reconnect with your body and mind. Along with an endless list of health benefits, group exercise has the bonus of being intrinsically social and a great place to meet new people of all ages.
With all these benefits, can you risk not ageing actively? Click here to search for a class near you today!
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