Did you know that only around one in 10 Australians over the age of 50 years exercises enough to gain any cardiovascular benefit? This puts you at a great risk of developing cardiovascular disease, the second highest killer next to smoking.
It has been suggested by many experts that about half of our physical decline associated with ageing is due to a lack of exercise or physical activity in general. Arguably, people over the age of 65, more than any other age group, require adequate fitness levels to help them recover from illness and reduce their high risk of disease.
With old age, often come a loss of independence. If you exercising regularly and attaining/maintain a reasonable level of fitness this will help an older person meet the demands of their daily routine. Many studies show that it is never too late to get fit and we should all be thinking about living stronger and not just longer as quality of life plays an important role in how we value our life and lifestyle.
The great thing about the human body is that it responds to exercise, no matter what its age, and the health benefits are multiple. If you are over 50 years and have been sedentary for some time, it is a good idea to see your doctor before embarking on any new exercise routine.
If you are over the age of 50 and have lived without regular exercise you can experience a range of health problems including;
- Reduced muscle mass, strength and physical endurance
- Type two diabetes (lifestyle related)
- Increased blood pressure
- Reduced coordination, agility and balance
- Reduced joint flexibility and mobility
- Reduced cardiovascular and respiratory function
- Reduced bone strength leaving you susceptible to osteoporosis
- Increased body fat levels
- Increased susceptibility to mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of various diseases including cardiovascular disease and stroke.
If you believe you are too old to commence an exercise program, think again! You may be of the notion that;
Older people are frail and physically weak to exercise.
The human body doesn’t need as much physical activity as it ages.
Exercising is hazardous for older people because they may injure themselves.
Only vigorous and sustained exercise is of any use.
This is not so, exercise will help to improve your bone and muscle strength. It will help with agility, movement and general fitness and endurance so try to overcome the following barriers that may stop you from persuing a healthy lifestyle:
A preference for sedentary activities, such as reading and socialising.
The relatively high cost of some health clubs.
Many sports and activities tend to attract young adults, so older people may feel unwelcome.
The physical fitness marketplace has failed to include and attract older people.
At 6 Degrees South we have tried to help you overcome these fears by providing memerships that include total support and can be used during off peak hours when you are free. Fitness for the over 50′s has never been so important and our structured one on one programs will help you gain strenght and overcome any fears you may have because we do tailor to the over 50′s population at an affordable price. Off peak membership prices avialable.
So what can you expect if you take up physical activity?
Muscle – the amount and size of muscle fibers decreases with age in fact this begins as early as 25 years of age. Some studies suggest that the average body loses around 3kg of lean muscle every decade from middle age. The muscle fibers that seem to be most affected are those of the ‘fast twitch’ variety, which govern strength and speedy contraction.
Evidence suggests that muscle mass loss as we age is related to a sedentary lifestyle, rather than age. Muscle mass increases sharply in the older person after regularly exercising for a relatively short period of time.
Bone density begins to decline after the age of 25, but this loss accelerates around the age of 40-50 years. As a result of this bone loss, older people are more prone to bone fractures. Exercise reduces the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercise, in particular, helps to keep bones healthy and strong and a weights program designed specifically for you is the one of the best way to start.
Heart and lungs – moderate intensity exercise is most favorable: for example, exercising at about 70 per cent of the individual’s maximum heart rate (220 beats per minute minus your age). Studies show that cardio respiratory fitness takes longer to achieve in an older person than a young person, but the physical benefits are similar. Regardless of age, people are able to improve their cardio respiratory fitness through regular exercise.
Joints – the joints of the body require regular movement to remain supple and healthy.
Regular flexibility exercises also strengthen the surrounding soft tissue (such as tendons and ligaments) and reduce the risk of injuries.
In particular, people with arthritis can benefit enormously from a gentle exercise routine that includes working joints through their full range of motion.
Body fat levels – carrying too much body fat has been associated with a range of diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Regular exercise burns kilojoules, increases muscle mass and speeds the metabolism. Together, these physiological changes help an older person maintain an appropriate weight for their height and build.
Its time to get active – try these ideas;
- If you are over 50 years, see your doctor before you start a new exercise routine.
- Exercise with friends. Make physical activity an enjoyable social occasion.
- Safe, easy and comfortable forms of exercise include walking, swimming and cycling.
- Weight training can dramatically increase your muscle mass in a comparatively short space of time. One study found that older people tripled their leg strength in just eight weeks of regular weight training. Always warm up and cool down thoroughly. This will reduce the risk of soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Download our ebook for warm up/cool down tips
- Start off slowly, and aim for small improvements. Keep track of your progress in a training diary for added motivation.
- Check your pulse frequently to make sure you aren’t overdoing it.
- Choose appropriate clothing and safety gear.
- Don’t let yourself dehydrate – drink plenty of water.
- Don’t exercise in hot weather, particularly in the middle of the day.
- Don’t exercise immediately after meals.
- Only around one in 10 Australians over the age of 50 years has enough exercise to gain any cardiovascular benefit.
- Some estimates suggest that about half of the physical decline associated with old age may be due to lack of physical activity.
- If you are over 50 years,,see your doctor before embarking on any new exercise routine.