Exercise and Ageing : Start a physical activity
It is important to understand that there is a relationship between exercise and ageing. As we get older, we tend to get bogged down by health issues, weight problems, aches and pains as well as worries about falling. It gets challenging to maintaining an exercise regime, let alone starting one! For some, the very act of exercise may mean boredom or at times fear that we may not match the standards that we set for ourselves in terms of fitness goals.
Studies within India and abroad emphasize the fact that being more active can help relieve stress, make you feel energetic and feel positive in your outlook. This will in turn impact your overall health and well-being as you age. Here are some senior exercise and fitness tips:
What are some of the obstacles that prevent us from exercising?
Why should I exercise? Anyway, I will grow old:
Exercise not only makes you feel independent, it also helps you feel and look younger. It decreases the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia, diabetes, heart conditions and obesity. Most important, it actually improves your mood and attitude.
I am frustrated because I will never achieve the earlier standards of exercise regimen:
Your strength and performance levels tend to decline with age because of changes in your hormones, metabolism, bone density and muscle mass. However, the objective of exercise is to maintain your overall physical fitness and health, which means that you need to set age appropriate goals for you.
I may be at a risk of falling down and hurting myself:
Exercise actually reduces the risk of falling because it improves your balance and decreases the loss of bone density and muscle mass. Your stamina increases and you feel physically and mentally alert.
Am I too old to start exercising?
If you have never exercised before, now is a good time to start! Begin with gentle exercises giving your body time to adapt. As you become more active, you will rep the benefits of exercise in terms of physical and mental improvements.
Can I exercise even with my disability?
In-spite of certain challenges, you can start with some gentle exercises like lifting weights, stretches, special aerobics, yoga or tai chi that can improve your flexibility and muscle mass. Don’t hesitate to use the pool and check for wheelchair games like basketball.
I feel frail and often don’t feel confident.
Start with simple exercises that can take into account your illnesses. Slowly, as you find your strength improving, you will feel more confident about moving on to exercises that will help you manage pain and improve vitality.
Remember, physical activity is the number one contributor to longevity; it not only adds extra years to life but also improves the quality of life.
Exercise and Ageing – Your physical health:
- Reduces the impact that chronic illnesses have on you by improving your immunity, digestion, blood pressure and bone density
- Helps to lose or maintain your weight by increasing your metabolism and building muscle mass
- Besides, it helps improve your mobility, flexibility and balance by improving your strength, posture and flexibility which in turn helps your balance and coordination. This helps reduce the risk of falls and makes you feel more independent.
Exercise and Ageing – Your mental health:
- Regular exercise produces endorphins that act as a stress reliever and boost your mood. It helps to effectively deal with feelings of depression, anxiety or sadness.
- Exercise and ageing are related, it improves your sleep and makes you feel more refreshed when you wake up
- Joining an exercise group helps you to engage socially with the community and gives you a sense of purpose. It helps alleviate loneliness
- Because your cognitive function improves with physical exercise that can help slow down the progression of memory loss, cognitive decline and dementia.
Make a start today. It should be your number one priority so that it becomes a habit as you age. Also, talk to your doctor about the right type of exercise and nutrition. Start slow and build up steadily.