You’re never too old to be fit

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Four Steps to Fitness with Tracey Vowels of The Fitness Company, Spalding

If you think you are too old for exercise then think again.

Tracey Vowels (centre left) with ladies who are discovering the benefits of keeping fit.

Tracey Vowels (centre left) with ladies who are discovering the benefits of keeping fit.

Research shows that even if you have had years of inactivity, you are never too old to reap the benefits from exercise.

The evidence is there – reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and depression, plus those over 70 taking part in some regular daily activity find they sleep better and are less likely to struggle with day to day chores.

It really is a case of “use it or lose it”.

Of course, as we age our body changes and we lose muscle and bone mass.

Regular exercise slows down the process, strengthening bones and reducing joint and muscle pain.

In addition, mobility and balance are improved which can help reduce the risk of a fall.

Often medical conditions can be barriers to regular exercise, but this may just mean the need to modify the type of exercise we do, find new ways to exercise and focus on new challenges.

Retirement removes the “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse, and as exercise often involves some sort of social interaction, it can be a great way to meet and make new friends.

So what type of exercise should we be doing as we get older and for how long?

Thirty minutes of moderate exercise every day is the recommended amount to promote the best health benefits.

A brisk walk – why not join a walking group? Other ways are washing and waxing the car, weeding the garden, riding a bike, brisk housework, a keep fit or dance class, joining a gym, playing some golf, exercise in water, walking the dog – the list of ways to stay active is endless. Look to do different activities on different days keeping it interesting and fun.

Whatever your age, exercise, especially in a group with other like-minded people, can really make you feel good about yourself, reduces stress, boost self-esteem and gives you a more positive outlook on life. It is often said: “If exercise were a pill, it would be the most cost-effective drug ever invented”.

This week’s exercises

AB CURL: Lying with hands to head, one leg extended, slowly raise the head and the extended leg up and down. Repeat on both legs 15-20.

UPRIGHT ROW: Holding two weights pull the arms up under the chin keeping the elbows high and back to start. Repeat 15-20 times. SG110214-136TW

WAIST BENDS: Standing with your feet apart reach the right arm over your head and back to start. Repeat 15-20 times on each side. SG110214-134TW