Age defying exercise: Staying fit and strong in your 60s

Jan 15, 2022
Staying fit and strong in your 60s doesn't have to be tricky. Source: Getty

Ageing is a fact of life, but how we deal with it plays a big part in our long term health and happiness.   Joint pain, muscle and bone loss, balance issues or gaining a few extra kilos are all common issues that occur among many people they age. It’s also incredibly frustrating because we know our body is changing but we don‘t like what is happening. One of the earliest signs for most is needing extra help for reading, because one day we wake up and our arms simply aren’t long enough anymore! (There is only so far away you can hold the item whilst trying to read the label!)  Now for the good news: There are ways to keep our bodies functioning really well as we age and maintain high levels of fitness and strength.

Muscle and bone loss is part of the ageing process but there is a way to prevent it: by doing regular strength training.  Cardio work will help with fitness, but it’s not enough to maintain muscles and bones. You don’t have to join a big gym, and be overwhelmed by the equipment and the participants. Try looking for a boutique fitness facility that includes personal training specifically designed for older adults. These facilities will help you develop the confidence to strength train, and work with you to devise a plan for your needs.  Always make sure you have an open and honest discussion about your medical and fitness history, including any issues, or injuries you may have sustained in the past.    

Joint pain is really common as we get older, particularly in our knees, hips and shoulders. When we are experiencing pain, we are often reluctant to exercise for fear of it exacerbating the issue. However, the best advice is to see a physiotherapist to obtain a diagnosis, because the right exercises can often help alleviate the symptoms, and manage the issue.  Muscle strength is a key factor in maintaining our joint function, so even a long term issue can often be improved when managed correctly.

Poor balance is one of those ageing issues that creeps up on you and can be caused by many factors.  If left unchecked, it will continue to decline, and can then create bigger issues such as falls risk, and mobility problems.  It only takes one fall to have a major impact on your confidence, and independence, so prevention is definitely the key.  Specific exercises can help prevent balance decline, and can easily be included in your daily activities.

Gaining a few extra kilos over the years is such a common problem for both women and men, and like the balance issues, it is one that can just keep creep up slowly. You can resolve this issue if you are committed to making a few changes, and are realistic in your expectations.  You won’t miraculously turn into your 20-year-old self, but you can get rid of some weight to improve your health, and reduce your risk of illness and injury.  

The key to weight loss is the right combination of lifestyle changes.  It’s not just about reducing food, and increasing exercise. Things have changed over the years, and the latest research indicates that we need to look a little deeper than that.  We now know that combining certain types of exercise in conjunction with healthy eating gives the best results.  But, we also need to consider our sleep, stress, and mental health, all of which play a role facilitating or preventing weight loss.

The best news is that we can defy the ageing process and keep our bodies fit and strong.  Getting older is okay, just remember that with age comes wisdom, so you need to be smarter in your exercise, and lifestyle choices!  It’s also a great idea to check with your doctor before embarking on a new fitness regime, just to make sure that you are good to go.  

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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