Corinne Austin | Personal Training

Fitness Over 50

Exercise is the underlying key to healthy aging. As the years pass and we grow older, an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Throwing regular exercise into our days will boost energy, manage symptoms associated with age-related illness and pain, and help us to maintain our independence. Bodies aside, exercise also does wonders for our minds, moods, ad memories too.

As we age and we succumb to accumulating health problems, injuries, and falls, it’s easy to get into the mindset of taking life easier. In actual fact, the opposite is true. These are reasons to exercise, not to avoid exercise. No matter how old we are or what kind of physical condition we are in, exercise can, and will, benefit us. Even if we’re bound to a wheelchair and can’t get out of the house without assistance, there’s many easy and enjoyable ways to throw a little physical activity into our days.

If you’re over 50 and new to the exercise scene, the four most important elements of an exercise programme are strength and resistance, cardiovascular, flexibility, and balance. I’ve outlined below what these entail and why they are good for you.

Strength and Resistance Training

Resistance or strength training uses repetitive motion of body parts to condition and strengthen muscle groups. The resistance can come from various external factors like weight machine, medicine balls, and resistance bands. But there’s almost nothing for functional than using your own bodyweight as resistance during exercise, (for example, bodyweight squats or press-ups).

Strength training aims to slow the loss of bone and muscle mass, improves balance, and makes us stronger. With regular strength training you’ll be less likely to fall, lifting objects will be easier, and you’ll be more nimble at getting in and out of the car.

Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular (or aerobic) exercise uses rhythmic motions sustained for a period of time normally greater than ten minutes. This kind of exercise gets your heart pumping faster and encourages your respiratory system to function faster too. Walking, cycling, and swimming are all examples of cardiovascular exercise.

Cardiovascular exercise should be an essential component of any exercise programme for those over 50 years of age. It aids in lessening fatigue and shortness of breath. It also promotes better independence as tasks like house-hold cleaning, running errands, or walking to the letterbox will become easier.

Flexibility Training

Flexibility training challenges our body’s joints by asking them to move freely through a functional range of motion. It also persuades our muscles to lengthen out, bettering our posture and reducing the risk of injury. Lack of movement and increased sedentary behavior – which often comes with older age – encourages our bodies joints and muscles to seize up.   Flexibility training, via static and dynamic stretching, enables us to counteract this by making us more supple, and allowing our bodies to move more freely. Yoga and Pilates are excellent examples of flexibility training.

Adding some flexibility exercises into your overall exercise regime will enable you to stay limber, and enhances your movement through everyday activities. Simple tasks like tying your shoelaces, reaching into a cupboard, and doing puzzles on the floor with your grandchildren will become easier as a direct result of flexibility training.

Balance Training

Balance training is an essential component of our ‘Fit over 50’ exercise programme as it enables us to practice maintaining stability whilst standing or whilst moving. Any activity which encourages us to try to maintain our footing will help with our balance. For obvious purposes, balance training should always be done with somebody close to you who can offer help or assistance where required. Yoga, pilates, and tai chi are excellent example of exercise modalities that can improve your balance.

Balance training is crucial as it helps your balance to improve, your posture to be corrected, and your ability to move around will be enhanced too. Throwing some balance exercises into your regime will enable you to grow more confident with everyday chores, and will reduce your risk of falling and injuring yourself.

No matter where you are, or how old you are, you are never too late to begin exercising. And I know many of you will doubt that it will make much of a difference for a late starter. But I have witnessed for myself, many times, how much more confident someone becomes, how much more self-empowerment they possess, and how much more life they have left in their years, when someone begins exercising at a later age. Jump onto the bandwagon and feel the difference for yourself. Today.

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