It’s never too late to start training
Let’s kick-off this article about the benefits of exercise for the more mature person with a simple question: how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Because the answer may lay at the heart of why some people age well and others don’t.
In our case – Ann has entered her sixth decade and I’m now knocking on that door – our answer would be in our late thirties/early forties. We feel as if we’re just old enough to know better but not yet ready to enjoy Saga holidays and elasticated-waist trousers. (Personally, I’ll know when I’m past it when I’m at the airport and no longer want to sit on the baggage carousel.)
We both believe that the health benefits of exercise, especially resistance-based (body weight, tubes, light weights, etc) has made a massive contribution to our youthful outlook. Yes, we’ve trained – and eaten well – all our lives, so we may be biased, but what do the experts in the NHS say regular activity may do for you as you get older?
10 benefits of regular, physical activity
1. Up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
2. Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
3. Up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
4. Up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
5. 30% lower risk of early death
6. Up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
7. Up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
8. 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
9. Up to a 30% lower risk of depression
10. Up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
Now, that’s not a bad result just for a few minutes of activity/exercise per day. In fact, NHS health promotion consultant, Dr Nick Cavill claims “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented”.
It gets better
Now, the above ten points are all good for your health and longevity but there’s also the positive effect on weight loss and mental well-being, which we feel are equally important. Moderate to vigorous activity is not only fantastic for burning the calories but it produces vital, feel-good chemicals called endorphins – possibly the best, natural stress-busting compounds your brain can make. Endorphins reduce the effect of pain, promote a feeling of well-being and help to improve sleep – they are nature’s opioids.
Still getting better
And possibly best of all, it doesn’t matter how old you are, how fit, or how much activity you’ve done in the past, the benefits kick in from the very first workout. The only thing you need to watch if you’re new to training is keeping it light to get started and then slowly progress (so don’t book the Ironman triathlon just yet).
What should you do?
Well, it’s difficult to recommend an individual training routine/activity programme without first meeting a person and having a chat with them to discuss their needs and capabilities. However, we can offer the following guidelines:
1. Try to do something every day that makes you a little breathless.
2. To get started, frequency of activity (how often) is better than intensity (how hard).
3. At least twice a week try and do some strength-based activity to improve muscle tone and joint strength/mobility.
4. It’s always easier if you are with others, so train with a friend or join a group.
5. Do something that you enjoy.
It’s no use us all living longer if we can’t enjoy the extra years we’re given.
It’s sad that despite we’re all living longer, many people are, in fact, now less healthy as they age than previous generations . Yet this is not necessary because there’s absolutely no excuse not to do some form of activity/exercise.
In the forty years we’ve been in the health and fitness industry we’ve heard every excuse possible. Regardless, we’ve advised and trained thousands of people of all ages – and with all sorts of disabilities or mobility issues – and we’ve always found something they can do to improve their physical well-being. We like to think that keeping people mobile and healthy is our speciality.
Understanding the capabilities of an older person is essential when advising about exercise and it helps that we’re not kids ourselves (we both have creaky joints and know the joy of an afternoon nap!). Also, our facility is completely private so it’s just you and your trainer, no one will be watching and you get our undivided attention. And finally, we’re not stereotypical personal trainers; we use encouragement, not abuse to get results and we design our workouts to be challenging, yet enjoyable.
Ultimately, how you approach your later years is up to you, but we will say this, you use it, or you lose it.
You’re more than welcome to come and have a chat about what form of activity suits you best. This is completely free (we don’t charge just to chat) and you can have a free taster session to try us out first. You don’t have to do on your own either – just get a few friends together and we’ll see how we can help everyone.
We’ll even provide tea and coffee (but no biscuits).
TO ARRANGE A FREE CONSULTATION OR TASTER SESSION CLICK HERE
Paul Lonsdale & Ann Hirst, Get Physical Personal Training
 Hulsegge G, Susan H, Picavet J, et al. Today’s adult generations are less healthy than their predecessors: Generation shifts in metabolic risk factors: the Doetinchem Cohort Study. Eur J Prevent Cardiol, 2013 (in press) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082426.htm