Lots of people have good intentions to get fitter but gyms have plenty of members who never go! The fact is that walking is free, its fun, and its easy and by simply making a daily habit of this exercise, you’ll be increasing your vitamin D level and calorie burning.
If you are concerned about healthy ageing and maintaining your fitness and independence, it is vital that exercise plays a role in your daily routine.
Walking is one of the simplest ways to incorporate some exercise into your routine so, you’ll maintain or lower your weight, depending on how long you walk for – remember weight is all about calories in and calories out!
Walking is also a great stress-buster and such a gentle cardiovascular exercise is great for your heart – Don’t underestimate the virtues of walking.
We asked Dr. Chris Steele MBE why fitness is particularly important for those over the age of 50…
“As you approach the age of 50 and above, I believe it is very important to become aware of how important it is to take care of yourself, exercise can make a huge difference to your enduring quality of life. It literally adds life to your years…And getting fitter over 50 is done by transferring that awareness into action”.
You can learn more by listening to Dr Chris talking about this issue. Click on the link to the video below.
The Benefits of Keeping Fit
Being active has so many rewards. It lifts your mood, achieves weight loss, and raises your metabolism to maintain the weight loss without the need for ‘fad’ diets that can leave you drained and feeling unhealthy.
Fitness makes you more alert and more willing and able to try new things – no wonder those who make the commitment to getting fitter feel like they’ve been given a new lease of life!
Other health improvements include lowering blood pressure and increasing flexibility to help with arthritis. All it needs is no more than simple, easy aerobic exercises such as walking.
Staying Physically Active
Keeping physically active not only improves your health and quality of life, it can also help you to live longer. Physical activity can be anything from everyday tasks like cleaning the house to specific exercise like keep fit or swimming.
Physical activity means anything from everyday tasks, like cleaning the house, heavy gardening or walking the dog. Or specific exercise like keep fit, swimming, golf, football, gym-based activity or tennis.
The best type of activity is one that makes you feel slightly warmer and breathe a bit heavier, getting your heart and pulse pumping faster than usual.
Some of the benefits of keeping active include:
- a reduced risk of developing a life-threatening disease
- a greater likelihood of maintaining or reaching a healthy weight
- a greater sense of well-being
- improved sleep and increased day-time vitality
If you stay physically active, you’re also likely to stay independent longer. Exercise can make you stronger. You’ll feel more confident and involved in life.
Remember, before beginning a new exercise regime, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor first. Your GP is also a good place to start to learn about exercise for your health.
Inactivity puts you at greater risk of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, leading to fractures (half the number of hip fractures could be avoided with regular physical activity) obesity and related health problems.
If you haven’t done any exercise for years – and it’s estimated that four out of 10 people over 50 do little or no exercise – then start gently and build up gradually. If you’re exercising for the first time or are unsure if you should try a particular activity, talk to your GP.
Experts recommend thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day at least five times a week. It can be all in one half- hour, or split into three periods of ten minutes or in smaller bouts of activity throughout your day.
A good starting point may be to begin with a short five-minute brisk walk in your local park. Then build up gradually, increasing slowly to the full 30 minutes over a number of weeks. Walking is great for your health and there are hundreds of walking groups open to all ages around the country.
There is no reason to give up a sport or exercise you enjoy just because you are getting older. You should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more times a week. Even if you haven’t been particularly athletic at a younger age, there are many benefits of improved fitness as you get older.
Remember to keep moving and retain your mobility and flexibility through daily activity as well.
If you’re in your 80s or 90s, regular, gentle exercise can help retain muscle strength and improve mobility. Through daily activity you can retain mobility and flexibility.
Boost your exercise and physical activity
It’s easy to boost your physical activity without making huge changes to your lifestyle. You can begin by incorporating it into your everyday life with little effort or planning. You can:
- walk up stairs – don’t use the lift or escalator
- get off the bus or train a stop or two earlier to walk home or to work
- spend more time enjoying active interests, like gardening or golf
- leave the car at home more
- clean the car by hand
- vacuum the house
- use email less and walk around your office to talk to people instead
Leading a fulfilling life and ageing better for longer are some of the most important issues facing us all. So if we can try to incorporate some of the ideas above, we will go some way to improving our overall health and wellbeing.