Many people spend their working lives daydreaming about retirement – a time for them to finally put up their feet and enjoy a hard-earned rest! But whilst it’s a good idea to take life at a more leisurely pace during these later years, it’s certainly no time for stopping still!
Staying active so important if you wish to continue leading a full, enjoyable and healthy life. Ahead of Senior Health and Fitness Day on 31st May, the healthcare experts at YourGP explore the many benefits of exercise in later life and share tips on the best ways to stay active.
The benefits of daily exercise
The benefits exercise gives are limitless. Getting into the habit of exercising regularly can have a whole range of knock-on effects as it can encourage you to adopt more healthy habits in other areas of your life. Here are just a few of the plus points:
- Improve strength: It’s a case of ‘use it or lose it’ as muscles start to waste if they are not exercised regularly. Bone strength also decreases with age, thus increasing your risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.
- Improve flexibility: Osteoarthritic pain can be a source of real discomfort for older people, with joints and muscles becoming stiff and immobile. Staying active and maintaining movement in muscles and joints is a great way to help decrease any discomfort.
- Improve balance and coordination: The consequences of a fall can be serious in later life. Exercise can help to reduce your risk of a fall by enhancing your balance and coordination.
- Help prevent serious health issues: Exercise is a great way to dramatically reduce your risk of problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Improve mental health: The release of endorphins that results from a good exercise session can go a long way in helping to reduce issues such as anxiety and depression, and improve your overall mental health and wellbeing.
- Improve cognitive function: It is just as important to keep the brain active as it is the body. Following an exercise routine is a great way to simultaneously exercise your body and your brain.
- Lengthen your life: Research has shown that regular exercise can add as much as 3-5 years to your life. But more than that – it not only adds years, it also improves the quality of those years.
Easy ways to stay active in later life
Need a little help to get started? Or some inspiration of how to shake up your current exercise routine? Here are a few simple ways you can incorporate more movement into your daily life:
- Walking: Whether it’s a daily stroll to the local shop and back, or a more challenging hike up a hill, walking has the added benefit of getting you out into the great outdoors for a dose of vitamin D.
- Swimming: This low-impact activity is a great way to gently get your muscles moving.
- Armchair aerobics: Many with mobility issues can still enjoy getting active with a series of stretches and movements.
- Riding a bike: Legs, thighs and stomach muscles all get a good workout from a session on a bike.
- Dancing: From hip hop to lindyhop, whatever genre you’re into, dancing gives a double-whammy of benefits – a physical workout and a rush of feelgood dopamine to lift your mood.
- Housework and gardening: Bending down to tidy up then reaching up high to dust a shelf, then heading out to the garden to push a wheelbarrow and pull up weeds all adds up to be quite the workout!
Need a little extra help to get moving?
If pain in your joints is preventing you from keeping active, YourGP may have the solution. Whether the pain is in your shoulder, elbow, knee, or plantar fascia, and whether it is the result of an injury, arthritis or an inflammatory condition, steroid injections can effectively reduce inflammation and reduce the pain.
To find out more, book a consultation with Dr McBride, or email email@example.com or call us on 0131 225 5656 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that suits you.