While making time for physical activity can be a challenge, research shows that over 50s who make the effort to exercise are reaping the rewards. A recent study into over 50s by Nature’s Own has found that over a third (34%) of those surveyed feel in better health now than in their younger years.
So how does one start increasing (or taking up) physical activity safely and successfully in their later years?
Here are my favourite tips for exercising in the gym, outside of the gym, and what kind of goals you should set yourself to become a force of nature.
Get fit without leaving the house, no equipment required with these tried and tested exercises:
Use a sturdy chair to help you keep your balance whilst holding your arms out in front of your body, and balance on one leg. Then raise up onto your toes lifting your heel as high as you can off the floor, and hold for 3 seconds before slowly lowering to the ground and repeating.
Benefit: Calf strength is important for maintaining normal gait (walking patterns) and reducing the risk of falls.
This exercise will strengthen your upper body, including your arms, chest and back. Start by having your hands on the wall at shoulder height, then simply bend at the elbows and lower your chest towards the wall whilst maintaining a straight neck and back position. Then push-up gently and feel your muscles contract under the pressure.
Benefit: Building your upper body strength will aid simple, everyday tasks such as getting out of bed or getting up off the floor.
Benefit: Chair squats will help with getting in and out of the car as well as low chairs and couches.
Keen to get into the gym but feeling a little daunted by all the machines? Try these below tips to help make the process a little easier!
Most gyms offer an initial assessment where a qualified trainer or even an exercise physiologist can guide you through a basic exercise program to suit your needs, so make sure you take advantage of this! Following that initial assessment, try these exercises on for size:
Set your fitness goals. Whether you’re working out at home or in the gym, try and aim for the below targets initially so you can monitor your improvements!
Share your thoughts below.
Authored by Nature’s Own Exercise Physiologist and Dietitian, Kate Save