It is never too late to be fit and healthy. In fact as we get older, physical exercise becomes increasingly important for a range of health reasons.
It is important to maintain a degree of physical exercise and fitness as we age. As we get older our bone density declines, our muscle strength deteriorates, and a lack of physical exercise exacerbates this. A lack of exercise can also lead to increased weight, which as an older adult puts you at a higher risk of illnesses and diseases such as diabetes and heart problems. Exercise is also an important means of maintaining social connectedness and can help to maintain mental and social wellbeing.
Get your strength up
Strength training is a great form of exercise which will build muscle and increase flexibility. It also increases bone density which helps reduce the risk of fractures and breaks. Ask the health professional at the centre for some information on the types of strength training exercises that would be suitable for you to undertake.
Make exercise a social activity. Get some of your friends together, or make some new friends at a group exercise class. YMCA Victoria runs a Pryme Movers program which is for older adults and includes activities such as aquatic exercise, yoga, strength training and more! These activities often offer complimentary coffee and tea after class so that participants have the chance to socialise as well as exercise.
Run the water
Water-based activities are low impact which means it is easier on the joints. It is a form of resistance-training exercise, so it helps to build muscle. You aren’t limited to just swimming laps – you can walk or run in water, or try an aqua aerobics class.
Make it routine
Incorporate exercise into your weekly routine. For example take a group class on the same day every week. This will help keep you motivated and committed, and by attending weekly you might develop some new friendships.
Strengthen and lengthen
Retaining physical fitness when you are an older adult will help strengthen bone density and muscle. It can reduce the risk of sudden heart attack, stroke and other illnesses such as diabetes. Physical exercise also generates and maintains a social connection to your community. It can improve sleep and increase energy levels; all of which can help increase mental and emotional health. There are many programs and classes out there to try, which are specifically targeted at older adults.
So learn about exercises that would suit you or an older adult that you know, and start to see the benefits of exercise for older adults.