Can you stand on one leg? How long can you hold that position for?
Believe it or not your ability (or inability) to stand on one leg is an indicator of your overall health and wellbeing. Research found that the inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds or more is linked to a doubling in risk of death.
Test yourself and see how long you can stand on one leg, try it with your eyes open and then your eyes closed. Take a look at the guide below to see how long you should be aim to hold your balance for:
If you tried the test and found you couldn’t hold your balance for the time in the targets above then don’t panic- you can improve your balance (and lifespan) with practice. Activities such as yoga and pilates etc are a great way to improve your balance but even simply standing on one leg while doing everyday activities such as brushing your teeth will help improve your balance. The NHS has a great set of simple and gentle exercises you can do in the comfort of your home. If you aim to do these a few times a week alongside your regular activities you'll soon see an improvement in your balance and ability to stand on one leg.
Resistance and Strength Training
Strength training is another great way to improve your balance - a strong body is much more able to support itself, reducing the risk of falls in older age. Strength training sessions done 2 to 3 times a week will yield the greatest results and can be done at home with small weights or even tins of beans! Attending a class that incorporates strength training and aerobic exercise is a fantastic way to get fit and healthy while improving balance and strength.
Looking after your body as you age, by keeping fit and healthy, will help ensure you can stay active and independent for as long as possible- reducing the risk of falls, improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of dementia.
If you are starting any exercise programme for the first time always speak to a medical professional first.
Contact Amanda for more information on any of the fitness classes at Smart Fitt or for one-to-one and personal training enquiries.
February is often referred to as the month of love, where we show how much we care for our significant others. But this Valentines why not show yourself some love by investing in your long term health and fitness?
We’ve put together some of our top 5 reasons you should concentrate on building a life-long relationship with looking after your body and appreciate the importance of exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
It’s never too late to make positive changes to your exercise routine- your body will thank you for it!
Protect your Future Mobility
As we age hormonal changes and the loss of muscle mass can lead to reduced mobility but one of the biggest reasons for mobility issues as we age is simply down to not staying active. Recent research found improvements in mobility and muscle mass in older adults who took part in an exercise programme and followed a personalised diet over 3 years.
It really is true that if you don’t use it you will lose it- just a daily walk and some simple strength exercises will make a huge difference. Or you could try a Move It Or Lose It class- great for everyone of all ages and ability with the emphasis and active ageing at its heart.
Have More Energy
If you struggle to do everyday tasks like shopping or a bit of housework then you might argue that you haven’t got the energy to do any exercise. But exercise actually increases your energy by building up muscle strength and improving your heart and lung health so you’re able to complete those everyday tasks much more easily.
Look After Your Mental Health
When we are experiencing feelings of sadness or low mood, getting outside for some fresh air and exercise can really help lift our spirits. Regular exercise such as walking, fitness classes or swimming all help. The NHS also recommends exercise for those who suffer from mild to moderate depression as it helps to clear your mind as well as giving you more energy. Do contact your doctor for more help and advice if you think you may be depressed.
Exercise can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease which in turn will help reduce your risk of dementia, plus older adults who do not exercise are much more likely to have memory problems (cognitive ability).
Get a good Night's Sleep
A good night's sleep is fundamental to our well being and exercise has been shown to help lessen sleep problems and ensure a full night's rest. Regular exercise will have the biggest positive impact on your sleep and while 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended for the best results, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you enjoy it (as you’re more likely to stick at it).
Increase Your Social Circle
Whether you prefer exercising in a group like a fitness class or you prefer going for walks in the countryside with a friend, exercising is a great way to meet like minded people and form strong friendships. Exercising with friends helps ensure you stick with it and it’s a great way to build up a support network.
No matter what type of exercise you prefer to do, the most important thing is that you do it regularly and with a smile on your face. So grab your trainers, walking boots or swim suit and get out there and make some positive changes in your life.
Please contact Amanda for more information on the range of fitness classes available.
January is a bit of a tough month for many reasons. Post Christmas you might find yourself feeling a bit lonely, strapped for cash or just fed up with the dark mornings and evenings. It’s common to want to start the new year with a resolution to get fit and go on a diet but you might be just setting yourself up to fail if you set unrealistic goals which will only add to the negative feelings.
Exercise is actually a great way to help get you out of a negative slump as well as helping you get fit, even a quick walk to the shops could help banish those winter blues.
What are the Winter Blues?
We can all feel a bit low in the winter months- shorter days and colder weather can impact your mood and make you want to hibernate away.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to come on in the winter and go in the summer. Symptoms include persistent low mood, irritability, wanting to sleep more and difficulty concentrating.
If you feel like your symptoms are getting worse and are struggling to cope then you need to see your GP for more help.
Exercise Outside for Maximum Benefits
Most of us feel uplifted when we get outside in the sunshine, so when the weather is fine go for a brisk walk to get the blood pumping. According to research, a daily walk of just 30 minutes will give the best results in lifting your mood- try to go at midday for maximum daylight benefits.
Immunity Boost To Fight Colds
As well as the physical symptoms you get, colds can also affect your mental health. One of the reasons we are more susceptible to colds and flu at this time of year is because of the lack of sunlight- the main source of vitamin D. So try to get outside when the sun is shining to help lift your mood and get a much needed vitamin boost. Whether low vitamin D is a cause of depression is not known and studies have given mixed results.
Regular exercise also has a positive effect on your immune system to help you fight off those colds. Walking, running, aerobics and strength training are thought to be the most beneficial for boosting your immune system.
Research has found that just 10 minutes of activity can really help with your mental alertness but when the weather is bad you might not feel like venturing out. There are lots of ways to exercise safely inside, from following exercise videos to doing the housework- it all counts. Or why not join an exercise class such as Move It Or Lose It or Total Body Blast and meet some new friends while getting fit. As we get older we can feel isolated and lonely which can add to the negative feelings so getting out to an exercise class can help you build friendships and keep you accountable so you are less likely to quit.
Make sure you add in some strength training to your weekly exercise routine- not only does it support bone density and muscle strength but it also has huge benefits for heart health by strengthening the heart and blood vessels. Dr Sarah Jarvis is a big advocate of protecting your bones as you get older and she recommends regular exercise including lifting small weights to help protect against falls in older age.
Spring is not too far away and we’ll soon be enjoying longer days and warmer weather. In the meantime, make sure you wrap up warm and get outside for a nice walk to clear your mind and soothe your soul. Why not join us at one of our classes for a bit of cardio and a natter afterwards?
Contact Amanda for more information on any of our classes or 1-1 sessions.