It can be difficult to find the time to focus on fitness.
But with recent research revealing that most Brits begin to struggle with day-to-day activities — such as walking and going up the stairs — at the age of sixty, it may be time to make the time.
The old adage of “use it or lose it” is very true when it comes to fitness. The “secret” is to find things that you enjoy doing!
According to research conducted by Total Fitness — a leading health club in the North of England and Wales — 36% of health conscious retirees (over 65s) exercise at least four times a week to fight the signs of aging.
The most popular forms of exercise amongst retirees include swimming (31%), dog walking (21%), and cycling (18%).
The research has also revealed that many active retirees were found to be more supple than those aged 35-44 who do little exercise.
So the benefits of exercise are clear.
If you’d like to get more active, the below advice from “The People’s Friend” health experts may prove helpful.
The numerous health benefits of a regular daily walk are well known.
But increase your pace and walk fast if you can. Brisk walking can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 24%, and protect against dementia.
A 10-minute fast walk is more beneficial than a 30-minute meander.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) increases the activity of mitochondria (the “batteries” of our cells) as we age. It has also been shown to improve memory.
It might sound scary, but it really only means adding short bursts of intensity to your activity. So whatever you are doing, just up the pace for a few seconds, then allow plenty of time to recover. And repeat.
Exercise by stealth
If you really don’t have the time or inclination for an exercise regime, infuse your life with easy snatches of activity.
Try parking at the far end of the supermarket car park. Leave the trolley at the door and carry the full shopping bags back to the car if you can. Or get off the bus one stop earlier (you could burn an extra 1,000 calories a week).
If there’s vacuuming, window washing or digging to be done, pump the music up loud and get to it with vigour!
Make it sociable
Combine your socialising with exercising by joining a popular class.
Try meeting friends for a walk rather than a coffee, or joining one of the many new litter-picking groups cropping up all over the UK.
Studies show you’re much less likely to quit if there are others involved. And you’ll enjoy yourself more in the process.
Take the stairs
Climbing stairs is a great way to strengthen muscles in the back and legs, and boost fitness at the same time.
However, you can scatter bursts of health-giving activity throughout your day by simply making a point of avoiding the lift whenever you can.
Weights by the kettle
Strength training can reduce the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, strokes and type-2 diabetes, as well as slowing bone loss and easing the pain of arthritis.
And you can benefit without having to go to the gym.
Just keep a set of weights (heavy books or cans of baked beans) by your kettle. You can do bicep curls and shoulder presses while waiting for the kettle to boil.
Finish off with a few squats to keep thighs and buttocks strong, too.
Schedule it in
If you’re the sort to start the day full of good intentions only to collapse on the sofa, try scheduling an exercise session each day into your diary.
If you use a phone diary, add an alert so you absolutely can’t miss it.
Book and pay in advance for the classes you enjoy to make sure you get your spot (and to reduce the risk of you backing out).
Exercise should become a fun but non-negotiable part of your routine.
For more health advice from the “Friend”, click here.