Whether you're over 50 now or in a few years, an active lifestyle should be on the agenda with exercise at the core of your thought. Often that is not the reality, but this article aims to show you why this is so important.
Research shows us that for the over 50's, not enough time is spent trying to 'keep fit'. Even though there are well publicised and documented reasons why, it seems the benefits to good health pass by many older men and women.
Where active lifestyles are part of daily life, over 50's find that it may also positively affect some medical conditions and can help to maintain a healthier heart and body.
Research has shown that, In England, just 32% of men over 50 and 21% of women undertake the 'recommended' 30 minutes of daily exercise (be that walking, cycling or swimming). In Scotland that figure is 29% and 19% per cent respectively. If you then look more closely at 65+ just 17% of men (14% in Scotland) and 12% of women (8% in Scotland) are currently taking the recommended amount of daily exercise.
Whether you've previously had an active lifestyle or not, the benefits of exercise are far reaching at this age. Some benefits are obvious, but some are not so obvious and you may not have considered.
- Keeping active will give you more energy and keep you feeling lively, while sitting around not doing much will leave you feeling tired and sluggish
- As you get older your metabolism slows down. Exercise can offset this effect and help keep your weight at a stable level
- Exercise can help you get a more restful and beneficial night's sleep
- Keeping active helps to protect your bones and joints from ageing and also helps to maintain mobility and balance.
And the list need not end there - each individual will discover other benefits particular to them.
Whether you have previously been very active or have never really done much exercise before, it's never too late to start and the benefits will last you for years.
To make sure you stick to your new keep fit plan it is essential that, above everything else, you have fun! There are so many different types of exercise out there that is no need to stick with something you don't enjoy. Choose something that is appropriate to your level of fitness and that your can fit into your lifestyle. So for example, if you are not very fit try something like walking, jogging or swimming - any of these will easily fit into a daily routine. If you have some time to spare and fancy something a little more adventurous, why not try t'ai chi ? T'ai chi is a peaceful and relaxing martial art that is not too physically demanding.
Alternatively, if you are a little fitter, try running, yoga or classes at your local gym. Most towns have council-run gyms that are relatively inexpensive to join and some will compile a personalised programme for you to follow.
If you are unsure of the activities that are available in your area have a look in your local paper and corner shop for information on local fitness classes. Your local council will also have information about all classes and facilities in your area.
If you have an illness or injury it is important to get it checked over by your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Remember - it is important to find the right activities for you!