Strength and balance – the key to a healthier older life
As I've written about before, government guidelines say we should aim to be active every day – ‘over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more – one way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week’.
Some people think that completing their 10,000 steps a day or a brisk walk from a further bus stop means they are doing enough to stay fit and healthy but unfortunately that’s not quite enough.
As we know, aerobic exercise, like walking or gardening, is good for the heart and improves the circulation but muscle and bone strengthening and balance activities are also vital for health and future wellbeing – this is less well-known and sometimes neglected in our fitness routines, especially as we get older.
Muscle tone starts reducing by the time we reach 40 unless we actively work on it. The best forms of exercise are ball games, racket sports, dance and resistance training – either training with weights or body weight exercises which you can do anywhere.
Strengthening exercises for arms and legs also helps us keep our balance. Dance, racket sports or yoga are great for muscle strength and balance. Using the stairs rather than the lift is also good resistance training whilst carrying heavy shopping bags counts as weight training.
It might seem like a long way off, but if you want to stay fit and healthy into old age, you need to be taking action to strengthen and improve your balance now. Public Health England says that if an older person has had a fall, they are three times more likely to fall again. Strengthening and balance activities not only help prevent falls, but also help improve mood, sleep patterns and increase energy levels. So it’s good to get into the habit of doing these exercises.
As we’re all living longer, a mixture of physical activities will help us stay well and independent as we get older. As with most things, variety is the key – that’s why at www.gemmapearcefitness.co.uk we offer a wide range of different classes that can improve your strength and balance as well as help you to feel happy and confident! Why not try Pilates or Barre Fitness?!