Post by Sebastian Bos
Don’t count yourself out of the fitness crowd just because you’ve moved into a retirement home in Lancashire, where spending your time watching daytime TV and sitting around is the norm. You’re in a retirement home, not a graveyard.
Keeping fit is important no matter what stage of life you’re in, but many older people feel there’s not a lot of exercise they can do without risk of hurting themselves. Wrong! Keeping fit doesn’t necessarily mean getting out on the field for a vigorous game of football every night. Here are our top tips for staying fit as you get older.
Take a Stroll Every Day
Walking is the most basic form of exercise there is, and it’s important, too. Half an hour a day is the perfect amount to maintain basic fitness levels and keep your heart and lungs healthy. Half an hour of walking a day almost sounds TOO easy, right?
Engage in Moderate Aerobic Activity
Moderate aerobic exercise, in which your heart rates rises and you break a slight sweat, is a fantastic way to keep in shape, and is great for older people who want to do something more interesting than take a gentle stroll each day, but don’t fancy vigorous exercise. Cycling, swimming and line- and ballroom-dancing all do the trick! Shoot for two and a half hours per week.
Toss in Some High Intensity Exercises
This isn’t an absolute necessity, but if you’re relatively fit and healthy for your age, you should have no problems, and it can be fun as well as beneficial. If you’re up for it, sports such as badminton, running, squash and tennis will work their magic.
Muscle-Strengthening Bodyweight Exercises
Keeping your muscles strong doesn’t necessarily mean lifting weights at the gym, and it’s such an important element to maintaining your overall health. Your muscles will naturally weaken as you age, meaning regular tasks become harder and harder and you become more susceptible to diseases like osteoporosis – but there’s no reason you can’t fight back by incorporating body weight exercises (no weights needed!) into your week.
The aim is to work all your different muscle groups, including your back, arms, legs and core. Exercises like push ups, pull ups, squats and lunges can help you achieve this, but don’t worry if that sounds impossible: there are easier ways of doing these exercises than the full blown techniques you’re probably imagining right now. Push ups can be done against a wall, for example, instead of flat on the floor.
Hopefully you’re now confident that you can take exercise every day that will help keep you in shape, even if you are stuck in that care home in Lancashire. And just remember: some activity is better than none at all, so don’t immediately try to incorporate all of the above into your life if you find it overwhelming. Start slow, with that gentle stroll each day, and build on your fitness routine over time.