What does fitness mean? Is it the ability to run a marathon? To bench press 100kg? To touch your toes? It can be all of these, or none. For most people who are past their days of competitive sport and are now enjoying life playing with children, grandchildren and just having fun with friends, fitness is determined by how much activity you can do with maximum efficiency and pain free range of motion. It’s less about weight and more about ability to move. It’s about reducing heart disease, cancer, and other kinds of health-related issues. There is an abundance of data showing that even elderly people who start a fitness regime do better health-wise compared to those that don’t. But just to get you motivated, here is a quick list of some important benefits you receive when you exercise regularly.
10 benefits of regular exercise for over 50s
- Increased muscle mass, strength and physical endurance
- Reduced Type two diabetes (lifestyle related)
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased coordination, agility and balance
- Increased joint flexibility and mobility
- Increased cardiovascular and respiratory function
- Increased bone strength leaving you susceptible to osteoporosis
- Decreased body fat levels
- Decreased susceptibility to mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
- Decreased risk of various diseases including cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Insert pic of grandma playing with child
Many of my clients love telling me stories about playing with their children or grandchildren on the weekend or holidays, and we all know kids are full of energy and require a lot of attention. They need to be picked up, held, played with and looked after, and all these activities use a combination of strength, balance and coordination to do the job safely and effectively. We want you to be able to enjoy the things you want to do without the feeling of being limited.
In general, our fitness is affected by muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition, age, gender, and other conditions. A basic general fitness program for people over 50 would be a minimum of 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity plus 20 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercise twice a week in the gym there are five important elements to being in good shape that we can help you develop and maintain. These are: muscle strength, heart strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Here are three examples of exercises you can do to help you maintain functional fitness to help you keep up with the kids!
Squat & throw
Grab a basketball or football and use as an exercise tool! Holding the ball, sit down to chair level then stand up and throw the ball to your partner, who then squats and throws it back to you. Repeat the movement 10-20 times. (If you don’t have a partner you can throw and catch yourself). This builds your strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance and coordination all with one exercise!
Stand on one foot
Can you balance on one foot for 30s? Unless you are injured, this is a good test to see how good your balance is and have some fun at the same time! For a real challenge, see if you can do it throwing and catching a tennis ball, or with your eyes closed!
Walk to the park
Walking anywhere with the kids is always bound to keep your heart rate up. You can take a ball and do all of these things in one trip! It’s all about knowing what to do and how to do it properly. For help with some ideas, come and see one of our personal trainers or exercise physiologists in the gym today. You can even bring the kids along and we can work out a personalised program to help you all achieve your goals together.
See you in the gym,