It is something I hear all too often, “I’ve left it too late”, “there is no point starting now” or “it isn’t good idea to start at my age I may hurt myself”, the list could go on. But it couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s never too late to begin or restart exercising and whatever your age exercise is fantastic benefit to the body and mind. The NHS guidelines suggests that everyone should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. The easiest way to achieve this is do something every day for at least 10 minutes. If you do 30 minutes five days a week you will be able to meet the guidelines. This is the minimum amount so don’t stop if you feel you can do more! To achieve the moderate activity threshold, you will need to do activities that raise your heart rate. Examples of activities that you can do include brisk walking, water aerobics, riding a bike or mowing the lawns. In addition to these activities it is also recommended that you “work your muscles” by doing activities such as weight training, carrying heavy loads and gardening, for example digging, would put your muscles under load.
A simple change that everyone can make is to try and sit less. Many people spend large periods of the day sitting, for some it is up to 10 hours every day. Whether it be watching the TV, at the computer, driving, reading or listening to music most of the time people are sat whilst doing them. If these are common activities for you and you are aware that you spend long periods of time not moving the key is to try to get up and walk about regularly. Ideally every 15 minutes or so but try not to go longer than 60 minutes without getting up. Some of the activities that you sit to do may be able to be done whilst standing or even walking around, such as making a phone call.
One of my focus’ when I train people is lifting weights and being able to lift themselves. This is something that can seem incredibly daunting to some people. Not only that but there is a common misconception that it isn’t beneficial to start lifting weights. But as the joints and muscles start to ache this is exactly the time to make sure you use them and keep or make them stronger.
Muscles support your skeleton and joints, if they deteriorate and weaken the chances are your posture and general mobility will reduce. Weight lifting is proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and preserve bone density. As well as reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis and type 2 diabetes. Not only this but it can also improve sleep and reduce depression. All of which I think we would all like to improve or reduce the chances of them happening or worsening.
It’s never too late to start doing more and trying something new like lifting weights so why not give it a go. If you are unsure or want to make sure it is suitable for you to get started it is recommended that you discuss it with your doctor and you may also want some guidance from a fitness professional to get you started and moving in the right direction. The benefits are numerous, make a start and get ready to feel better on the inside and out don’t let age be a reason to stop you.
1. Get up and move throughout the day
2. Do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week
3. Work your muscles by doing weight bearing activities
4. Be prepared to try something new
Thanks for reading, until the next time...
Vicki is a Personal Trainer, Coach and Swimming Teacher with the aim of helping others achieve their health and fitness goals.