If you’d like to know more about the buzzwords “active ageing” and what it means – read on! It’s the concept of enhancing opportunities to enable people to be active, happy and healthy later in life. Exercising into your latter years has numerous health benefits. In fact, one study found that those who engage in at least three hours of recreational sport a week for 10 years between the ages of fifty and sixty could increase the life expectancy of formerly sedentary individuals.
Julie Robinson, optimal ageing expert and founder of fitness initiative, Move It or Lose it, explains.
“People are living longer than ever before and because of this, attitudes towards ageing are changing. It is no longer expected that you slow down in your later years. And, in fact, the opposite is now being promoted. It’s great to see such a positive shift in messaging and with musculoskeletal conditions being the leading cause of disability in the UK, it’s never been more important for people to prioritise joint health and keep active at any age.”
Although numerous studies have concluded that physical activity is a key contributor to longevity, you should ensure you’re exercising in accordance with your age and ability. A routine which worked in your twenties may no longer be suitable. So what exactly should someone over the age of fifty be doing to keep fit?
Whilst younger adults often go straight into high-intensity workout routines which can run the risk of injuries, older adults have a natural decline in bone health and muscle mass. There’s also hormonal changes for women to contend with.
Unfortunately, many women find their joints suddenly become stiff and painful during perimenopause and menopause, which inevitably deters a natural desire to keep fit. Interestingly, joint pain affects as many as 40% of all menopausal women and joint stiffness is the most common contributor to impairment of quality of life and work in women of a menopausal age.
Julie Robinson comments: “Joint pain may not subside when hormones level out after the menopause. But there are many lifestyle changes that can help ease the pain and prevent it from getting worse. Commonly affected joints include the knees and hips so be sure to implement some specific exercises to support these areas. Walking is a great low-impact exercise which supports both the knees and hips. Walking helps to keep the joints flexible and strengthens the surrounding muscles.”
Julie also recommends tailoring your fitness routine to incorporate both low-impact exercises and strength training.
“If you’re over fifty, try to tailor your exercise regime to accommodate for natural changes in joint health. I’d even recommend adding in gentle strength training to help build up lost strength from an age-related decrease in muscle mass. Weights can often feel intimidating but start off small and go at your own pace. Research suggests that when done regularly, strength training can help preserve bone density, independence and vitality.”
Help Relieve Discomfort
Staying active in your later years is imperative to help prevent physical decline. However, for the 20 million people in the UK suffering with a musculoskeletal condition such as arthritis, keeping up with a substantial exercise routine is not always possible.
Julie says, “Although I’m an advocate for active ageing, conditions such as arthritis can have a great impact on our desire to exercise. Pain and discomfort often accompany chronic health conditions, with many believing that exercise will exacerbate symptoms. In fact, keeping active can actually help relieve discomfort by reducing joint pain whilst increasing strength and flexibility. For those looking for additional support, joint movement may be made easier through the addition of a clinically backed supplement, such as GOPO® Joint Health which in numerous studies has been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness.”
Credits: Author Yvonne McKenzie and Magazine The People's Friend
No doubt you’ve come across the many videos of so-called influencers setting fitness challenges on the various social media channels. From waist training using uncomfortable corsetry to extreme cardio daily challenges, there are so many trends out there often being promoted by unqualified people. According to a survey carried out by Origym, a third of British people interviewed said ‘picture perfect’ social media images make them want to lose weight.
So this month we are going to take a look at some of the most popular trends and offer some alternatives to help you set realistic goals that you can achieve safely.
Exercise Trends to Avoid
The best way to improve your fitness and body shape is to take part in moderate, regular exercise and eat a healthy balanced diet. Try not to aspire to unrealistic body shape goals and instead aim to have a strong, healthy body. Fitness classes and one to one sessions are a great way to get in shape under the supervision of a qualified instructor. There, you can get help and advice on how to tailor workouts to suit your ability and fitness level and set achievable goals for life-long health and well-being.
Nutrition Trends To Avoid
The NHS Eatwell guide contains great information on how to follow a healthy and sustainable diet for the whole family. Balance is key- don’t deny yourself treats, instead focus on eating well throughout the week.
Social media is a great tool for finding out about fitness and nutrition but should be done with caution. Research any fitness/nutrition advice and always consult your doctor before embarking on a new exercise regime or diet.
Contact Amanda for more information on how you can improve your health and fitness, At Smart Fitt there are lots of classes to cater for all fitness levels and physical abilities as well as personal training sessions and nutrition advice.
There’s been a noticeable change in the weather and the urge to hibernate might be tempting you to miss your exercise classes and stay inside instead. But stopping exercise as we face the colder months is the last thing we should be doing. In fact, exercising now while it’s still mild enough to get outside is a great way to prepare for the colder months and means you are more likely to keep up with exercise through winter.
Exercise to Boost Circulation
If you have poor circulation, the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the affected arteries is reduced. If you suffer from any symptoms of poor circulation such as chest pains or pain in your legs when walking you should talk to your doctor to discuss appropriate treatment.
Regular exercise is great for circulation and heart health - it increases blood flow and gets the heart pumping blood around your body faster and flushes out your arteries.
Exercise to Boost your Immune System
As we approach cold and flu season your immune system will welcome a helping hand to help fight off the bugs and viruses. Exercise is a great way to boost your immune system and indeed studies found that the response from your immune system is immediate after exercising for 45 minutes. The key here is to make sure you continue to exercise regularly.
Take your Workout Outside
The cooler temperatures mean you need to warm up well before you start and wear layers that can easily be removed. Try walking, running or cycling for some fresh air and a chance to enjoy your surroundings. If you like meeting up with friends and you’re already quite active then joining a bootcamp class could be just what you need to help keep you motivated through the winter months ahead.
If you find it difficult to get out, perhaps due to limited mobility, then there are some great ways to stay active inside your own home. Video tutorials are a great way to get your daily exercise without leaving the house.
Set Yourself a Challenge
A great way to help ensure you don’t give up after the first hurdle is to set yourself a challenge or target that will see you through the winter. There are often lots of events you can sign up to from walking challenges to swimathons and once you’ve committed to it you are much less likely to give in. You could ask a friend to join you in a challenge- maybe pledge to attend a regular weekly class together. If you have someone to make you accountable you will be more likely to stick to it.
Do Something you will Enjoy
There’s no point in promising to run every day if you hate running. Doing exercise you dislike will just make you resent all exercise and will make you more likely to give up. So find an activity you enjoy and you will get all the feel-good hormones as well as the improved fitness.
So, get ready for winter and get started with your exercise routine now.
What are your top tips for staying healthy and active over winter? Let us know in the comments.
Contact Amanda for more information on classes, one-to-one training sessions and nutrition advice.