1. First, have a chat with your GP
As we get older, it’s always a good idea to check in with our General Practitioners (GPs) for regular health check-ups. GPs can check your blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health and also measure your waistline to ensure you’re in a healthy condition before kick starting any new fitness programs.
2. Cut down on alcohol
As you get older, different health issues may develop as you age that alcohol can affect in different ways. Cutting back on alcohol consumption means you’re at less risk of developing long-term health problems such as cancer, heart disease or liver cirrhosis (scarring). You might even lose weight, have more energy and feel better.
3. Motivate yourself
Need a reason to stay fit? How about a longer life? For men, fitness level can predict length of life even better than body mass index (BMI) can, according to a study of more than 14,000 men. As a man’s fitness improved, his risk of death from all causes dropped 15 percent and his risk of death from heart disease was reduced by 19 percent.
4. Try and stick to the exercise guidelines
It’s recommended that older adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days. If 30 minutes seems too much to you, don’t worry, as some activity, however light, is better for your health than none at all. This could be walking around the block, doing some gardening, or even playing some backyard cricket.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Not too sure where to start when it comes to exercising? No worries! Speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. Basically, an exercise physiologist specialises in designing and delivering safe and effective exercise programs for all populations. Having a chat with one before undertaking any exercise is a smart move.
6. Put the pedal to the metal
Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. You will breathe deeper, sweat and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level.
7. Take the stairs
Stair climbing burns more calories than a traditional walk and increases your chance to achieve weight loss. It can help to improve your energy, increase the function of your immune system and lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and heart disease.
8. Keep the weights on
No equipment, no worries. Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, or step ups will help to increase muscle tone, maintain sound strength, build bone density, maintain a healthy weight, optimize metabolic function, and reduce the risk of injury, falls and fatigue. It is recommended a minimum of two sessions per week be conducted to achieve the benefits of this training.
9. Resistance is key
Resistance training is one of the most effective ways to maintain muscle mass as we age. There’s a wide range of benefits of engaging in resistance training, and we listed 22 of them here.
10. Keep it social
A social exercise group class may not immediately ease your arthritis or make your shoulder range amazing but if you have a good time doing it, you’ll feel better. Feeling better means you’ll be more likely to go back again to help kick start those health benefits. Even exercising with a buddy can help keep you accountable ensuring you both get your body moving and heart pumping.
11. Just keep swimming
Hydrotherapy is a type of exercise therapy done in a heated pool. It has a wide range of benefits and is used to target and treat a variety of conditions. The use of gentle, controlled movements in warm water (heated up to 31-35 degrees) allows people to steadily progress their range of movement. It’s also a safe, comfortable and often enjoyable environment.
12. Don’t neglect the core
Core strength is more than just working on the six-pack. These muscles support the spine through flexion, extension and rotation, and incorporate the pelvic floor. Learning how to properly engage and activate these muscles daily will help to prevent injury during daily activity, prevent incontinence, boost sexual health, and improve pelvic stability.
13. Don’t forget nutrition
Good nutrition plays a key role in healthy ageing and quality of life, especially when there are many physiological changes associated with the ageing process. When it comes to providing adequate nutrition, making every mouthful count is key, and speaking with an Accredited Practising Dietitian can sometimes be the best option if you have any concerns.
14. Aim for the green
Did you know that simply by playing golf you can extend your life by 5 years in comparison to non-golfers? The research is piling up on the wide range of health benefits you receive from playing golf including improved longevity and cardiovascular fitness, reduced risk of chronic conditions, positive mental health and boosted strength and balance.
15. Stretch in front of the TV
Can’t make it to a gym class or out for a run? Stretch in between your favourite tv show or footy game. Resistance stretching (also known as power band stretching) allows you to increase your range of motion and keeps your body moving correctly.