exercising in old ageAs we age, paying attention to our health and looking after our bodies becomes even more important

Exercise is key at any age, but particularly as we get older. Not only is exercise important for staying fit and mobile, it can also reduce your risk of major health concerns like heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes by up to 50% – all of which are more common in older adults. It can also reduce your risk of early death by up to 30%.[1]

What kind of exercise should you do?

Every kind of exercise comes with its own benefits. Cardio and aerobic exercises serve to elevate your heart rate and tax your cardiovascular system. This helps to build endurance and ensure that your body continues to work effectively. Conversely, the main benefits of strength training are to your musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. As you age, you may find that you no longer pack on lean muscle when pumping iron – but you can avoid muscle wastage and even help to retain bone density. This underappreciated benefit can become particularly relevant when you arrive at your seventies and eighties. Finding the best exercise for you will increase your likelihood of making it part of your daily routine, so here are some of the most beneficial options out there.

Cycling

Cycling is great for boosting your balance and burning calories, while also building resilience in stiff and sore joints. Even better, a study from YMCA found that the endorphins released during cycling can increase your mental wellbeing by up to 32%.[2]

Dancing

Whether ballroom, line, square or aerobics-based dancing like Jazzercise and Zumba, moving to the beat is an effective way to build endurance, strength and balance. Not only that, but dancing can be a really fun activity once you find the right style for you, so you may not even feel like you’re working for your fitness.

Golfing

Golf often gets written off as an inactive sport, but an average round of golf requires you to walk at least 10,000 steps. On top of that, the swinging motion itself stretches your muscles and helps build balance over time. One Edinburgh review even found that golf had physical and mental benefits for people of all ages, and that the benefits increase with age.[3]

Jogging

Even if you take it slow while jogging, it’s a great way of increasing your heart rate and circulation. You can choose how intensely you want to go — just be sure to stretch your calves and hips before you set off.

Strength Training

Muscle loss is a common side effect of getting older, known as sarcopenia.[4] However, training your muscles with weight lifting or bodyweight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, squats etc) can help tackle this concern. Start off light and build up over time.

Swimming

Swimming is a great option for older adults, as you’re not placing any weight on your joints. Instead, you’re using water resistance to burn calories, build muscle and improve mobility. You’re also less likely to overheat thanks to your surroundings.

Walking

Walking is an easy and effective way to introduce yourself to fitness after fifty. Even a short daily walk has the potential to burn calories, lower your cholesterol, improve your mood, reduce stress, improve your breathing and boost your heart rate.[5]

Yoga

Yoga has gained serious popularity in the last few years, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s particularly great for older adults, as holding a series of poses will strengthen your muscles and stretch your joints, improving your balance, mobility and flexibility. It can also boost your mental health, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health even found that 20 minutes of yoga improves the brain’s ability to quickly and accurately process information.[6]

Exercise is key to maintaining your health, but in some situations support, treatment and medication is also necessary. Discover medication for a variety of health concerns – from weight loss medication to smoking cessation – here at Express Pharmacy. We can help you gain access to effective treatment swiftly and discreetly. Contact us today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our online Live Chat service.