In this month’s Ageing Well blog we are looking at physical activity and specifically at exercise for healthy living. What are the small changes we can all make to our lives to improve our chances of ageing better?
When it comes to your muscles, it is very much a case of use it or lose it. As we age, our muscles naturally start to lose strength and shrink, putting us at risk of falls, fractures and frailty. Maintaining muscle mass as you age is therefore crucial for a long and healthy life. Click here to find out more about ageing well through physical activity.
Physical activities for a healthy life*
Physical activity is any bodily movement that requires you to use your muscles, whereas exercise is a purposeful activity that focuses on improving or maintaining your physical fitness. Making either of these a part of your everyday life can improve your chances of ageing better.
- Climb the stairs several times a day, even if you don’t need to go upstairs.
- When you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, do some squats or simply raise your heels up and down to stretch out your calves.
- When watching TV, get up out of your chair in every advert break, or every half hour, and walk around the room.
- Use weights, a tin of beans is a good substitute if you don’t have free weights at home. Lift them while you look out of your window.
- Go for a five-to-ten-minute stroll around your garden or down your street after every meal. As well as encouraging movement, this can also aid digestion.
- Leave a resistance band out and visible, and every time you walk past it, do some resistance training stretches.
There are lots more suggestions and videos you can follow for exercising at home from Action for Elders, where the motto is “adding life to later life”.
If you are looking for something a little more challenging then you should explore some form of exercise. According to Dr Daniel Lieberman, a Professor in Biological Sciences at Harvard University, the most important thing about exercise is adhering to it regularly by making it a habit. He believes a good way to do this is to make it social and make it fun. Here are some suggestions for exercise that can be done with your friends, family or Carer:
- Join a weekly tai chi session, this dance-inspired version of a martial art is suitable for most fitness levels.
- If you love walking in nature, ask a friend or your Carer to accompany you on a regular walk. Making it vigorous and walking for about an hour a day counts as exercise. If an hour without a break is too much, split the walk up into 15-minute sessions and rest on a bench for a chat along the way.
- Go for a bike ride and arrange to meet people who live on the route you are taking. They can either join you, or you can take the opportunity to stop and have a chat. You can further increase your fitness level by cycling in a higher gear, making it harder to pedal.
- Try out a local dance class such as ballroom, tango, salsa or jive. Any of these dances can be fun and count as an exercise. It is also a great way to meet new people.
- Gather some friends together and participate in a chair exercise class using YouTube videos, such as:
*If you have any health problems or concerns, please talk to your doctor or health care professional before starting any exercise programme.
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Bright Care can support you with elder care for your loved one. We offer companionship style care that focuses on building meaningful relationships, establishing trust and helps your loved one with ageing better. Our tailored in-home care services provide peace of mind for families who cannot always be there to care for their loved ones.
If you would like to know more about the companionship care services we offer to those in their later years, please get in touch with our team today.
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