Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s

Are You Physically Fit? Here Are Some Simple Tests to Find Out

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Arthritis / Health and Wellbeing /

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If you are a fitness fan and love to spend time in your local pool, sports field or gym; then you probably already know that your body is in relatively good shape. However, if, like most of us, you only engage in physical activity every once in a while, you might not be so sure.

The NHS recommends that we do 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, such as walking briskly or swimming. It also recommends that we do 75 minutes of high intensity workout, such as an aerobics class or running. For those over 65, the high intensity exercise or the moderate exercise can be swapped for muscle strengthening exercises instead. However, the sad truth is that very few people manage to achieve this. In fact, only around a quarter of the adult population are exercising as much as they should!

Using a Test to Avoid the Sedentary Lifestyle
Perhaps even more worryingly, according to the British Heart Foundation, 40% of adults never exercise at all. It’s easy to ignore the importance of staying active, particularly if you’re naturally slim. However, physical fitness is about a lot more than maintaining an attractive figure.

It helps to reduce risk of coronary heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes by as much as 50%. In addition to this, it can reduce chances of getting osteoarthritis by as much as 83%, lower risk of developing certain cancers and also reduce likelihood of developing dementia.

By undertaking the simple tests outlined below, you’ll be able to get some idea of just how fit you are at present, and what lifestyle changes you may need to make to ensure that you remain as healthy as possible in the future.

Fitness Tests: Tailored to Your Specific Age

1) Physically fit in your 50s. Your 50s are often seen as a transitional age, when your blood pressure may start to rise as your arteries become stiffer with age. A simple test to check your health is the Sit/ Rise test.

Take your shoes off, slip into some comfortable clothes and stand into a mirror. Lower yourself into a cross-legged sitting position, then up again into a standing position, without using your hands, knees or arms to support you. Then, give yourself a score out of ten, taking away a point every time you need to use a hand or knee to support yourself, and half a point every time you wobble. A good score to aim for is 8 or above.

A study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that those who scored under 8 were twice more likely to die in the next 6 years than those who achieved high scores. However, please be aware, this test is not suitable for those suffering from arthritis in their knees.

2) The chair test for your 60s. When you hit 60, it’s likely you’ll start to notice more joint pain; as this is the age when wear and tear can start to take its toll on the body. A good way to check how fit you are is with the chair test.

Place yourself on a firm seat, such as a dining room chair, and place your feet firmly on the ground in front of you. Then, set a stopwatch for 30 seconds, and aim to rise gently and sit down gently, as many times as you can. If you have a good level of fitness, you should be able to do 12 if you’re a woman and 14 if you’re a man.

3) The 3 metre walk test. This is a great mobility test for people over the age of 70. You’ll need a dining chair, then you’ll need to measure 3 metres from that chair. Sit down, and time how long it takes you to get up, walk the 3 metres, walk back and sit down again. If you’re able to do this in 12 seconds or less, this indicates that you’re in good shape. Anything between 13 to 20 seconds suggests that you might be having issues with balance, and anything over 20 seconds indicates you’re having problems with mobility.

Concerned About Fitness?
If your test results reveal that you’re not quite as fit as you should be, now may be the time to start a fitness regime. Introducing exercise into your life needn’t be hard; and if you’re unsure about how to commence, arrange a time to discuss things with your doctor, who will be able to offer helpful advice.

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Posted by The Best of Health

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