I always finish Elsie’s Personal Training Session with 15 minutes of Boxing Fitness - Elsie is 70 Years old but likes nothing better than stepping into the ring and pummelling the pads. I'm pleased for Elsie, as 12 months ago she couldn't lift her arm above shoulder height and was about to book in for a relatively major shoulder operation. The real issue was inactivity, she was making a point of not moving her shoulder because it was stiff and painful, other parts of her body started to suffer to because of the inactivity. The answer wasn’t surgery but specific shoulder exercises amongst other strength building movements. Elsie could have easily opted for the operation which would have put her out for another 6 to 12 months and there was no guarantee of a positive outcome.....I understand that Boxing isn't for everyone but more often than not exercise is the remedy.
The most sedentary of all age groups is the 60 years+ bracket, conversely, I see more improvement and gains with my clients within that age group and in particular those that have been inactive for years.
There will always be a gradual slow down of the bodies functions, but physical activity can slow that decline dramatically, some might say it’s the miracle cure to ageing! Strong evidence points to a reduced risk of heart disease, mental illness and numerous other illnesses in addition to maintaining independence. Despite this I do hear the same barriers to exercise…… the following could be the top five:
- Painful Joints
- Lack of Energy
- Trouble Breathing
- Fear of Falling
- Not wanting to go out or leave home
It’s wrong to consider these ailments as a consequence of old age, they are more often than not cured or at the very least improved by increasing activity.
The recommended amount of activity for an individual is a 150 minutes a week. For those that have a base level of fitness and are currently exercising, 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise is as effective as a 150 minutes of gentle activity.
Mixing Cardio and Strength exercises throughout the week will see you reap the most benefit. Cardio can be anything that increases your heart rate, walking, jogging, gardening. Strength exercises are usually resistance based, whether that’s lifting weights or using your own body weight. Strength is usually the area that is neglected, but it is so important as it not only increases muscle strength but also toughens up your bones. As you get older bones can become less dense, hence more brittle, resistance training can combat this. The more tension your muscles are under the more pressures on your bones, as a result they will create fresh bone, making them stronger.
As you get stronger your balance will also improve, in fact it is worth introducing balance specific activities to your routine. Simply standing on one leg while lifting small weights will help with balance, alternatively balancing on one leg at different points in the day while undertaking every day chores will make an enormous difference.
It’s important to use appropriate exercise for your level of fitness, but be sure to challenge yourself, in that way your body will react and get stronger. If possible find a workout buddy or a Personal Trainer, someone who is experienced and can help guide you through a suitable routine.
Exercise can add years to your life and life to your years, so time to start moving and don’t stop!