Young or old, tall or short, little or big, we all need exercise.
In order to maintain our long-term health, we all need to exercise. While the length and variety of workouts may change, it is vital that we continue this right through our lives. Many people automatically assume that exercise, whether this is within the confines of a gym, private exercise classes or even in the home, is the domain of the younger generation. However, the truth is that, as we get older, exercise becomes even more important for general health, fighting against specific illnesses as well as ensuring the longevity of your joints.
The reality is that any exercise can be carried out by anybody of any age, although there are a number of specific types of exercise which are attracting the attention of so-called elderly people. As you will probably see today, many of those in retirement are fitter, have a healthier lifestyle and enjoy an all-round more relaxed life than many of their younger counterparts. So, what specific exercises are attracting the attention of the elderly?
Swimming uses by far and away the largest number of muscles in the human body when in comparison to other exercises. You use your arms, your legs, your neck, your stomach muscles and an array of other muscles, many of which you probably never knew you had. It is also worth noting that as we grow older sometimes our joints begin to creak and swimming, where the body is supported by water, is a perfect way to exercise these joints.
If somebody was to ask you what was the most popular sport in the UK you would likely to look towards football or some other similar activity. The fact is that 22% of adults and 50% of children in the UK swim on a regular basis and this equates to around 12 million people – an astounding figure by any measurement.
Pilates is very similar in some ways to Yoga and offers the ability to strengthen your “core”, stabilise your body and improve your posture. It is also an exercise which you can do anywhere at any time and has the ability to strengthen muscles in your lower back and your abdomen. Many people also find Pilates is a very soothing exercise regime which can reduce symptoms of stress.
While there is no way that you could describe Pilates as a simple exercise regime, as there are so many different moves and so many positions to take up, there are many people in the UK who practice this exercise in their 60s, 70s, 80s and even some instances in their 90s. The ability to maintain suppleness, keep your joints active and also build upon your “core” is something which has benefited an enormous amount of people not only in the UK but around the world.
The simple activity of walking just a couple of miles a day can have a massive impact upon your overall fitness and your overall health. Walking offers a fairly subtle cardiovascular workout, gives you fresh air and for many people walking can help to de-stress their life. Even if you were just able to for example walk to the newspaper shop, as opposed to going in the car, or perhaps take the dog for an extra walk per day, this can have a massive impact upon your overall health and fitness.
Did you know that we have over 50 muscles in our feet and connected to our feet? Walking is the simplest way of exercising these muscles which maintains joint movement, suppleness and general fitness. The government advises that we undertake 30 minutes of exercise per day at least five days a week and while many of us do not automatically assume walking is “an exercise” it certainly does help to keep us fit.
Biking just a few miles every day has the impact of improving your overall fitness, strengthening your “inner core” as well as giving you a cardiovascular workout. We are not talking about wild biking sessions, massive sprints or overexertion, just simple leg extension biking at your own pace. A number of those in their later years are now looking towards exercise bikes in their home as a means of exercising without going out into the often challenging weather conditions.
It is common knowledge that cycling can also assist in weight loss, improves muscle tone and builds stamina. The British Medical Association recently undertook a survey of 10,000 civil servants in the UK and found that those who cycled more than 20 miles per week saw a reduction in coronary heart disease of around 50%, compared to their non-cycling colleagues. Who would have guessed that cycling would have had such an impact upon your long-term health?
Statistics show that more and more people in retirement are now looking towards gyms and regular exercise. This is something which will continue to grow in popularity in the years ahead as the worldwide population continues to age and average life expectancy increases. When you also take into account the fight against diabetes it is imperative that those in their younger years, middle-aged and elderly people still take good care of themselves with regards to fitness, exercise and general well-being.
An exercise regime, which is applicable, your own level of fitness can help in the fight against many medical conditions.
No matter what age we should all be aware of the need to exercise on a regular basis, maintain a healthy diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Simple exercise techniques such as the ones we have listed above for those in their older years can and do have a massive impact upon their overall health and fitness not to mention very often assisting their mental health.
Stress is a modern day killer, stress is something which can catch up with all of us and the opportunity to control stress by exercise has been there for many years. We are not talking about major exercise regimes, we are not talking about running ourselves into the ground, but simple regular exercise can and will improve your health and potentially extend your life. When you also take into account the added threat of diabetes, and the role that exercise can play in controlling the condition, it is imperative that exercise is something we all do on a regular basis.