You’re never too old for exercise & laughter!
In this feature, Anna Langridge from 1FitLife explains why exercise is so important for the health of the over 60’s and the best types of exercise to do.
Exercise is important no matter what age you are, although for the over 60s it’s essential as it helps maintain your overall wellness whilst reducing the chance of a number of important health conditions creeping up on you. Simple daily tasks can become challenging without exercise like reaching down to put your shoes on, walking upstairs, getting up in the morning and being able to freely move about during the day ahead. Those who do a balance form of exercise eg yoga or pilates tend to fall less and this can help you avoid serious injury.
Over 60’s should make sure they do a range of fitness to ensure they are covering balance, mobility, strength and cardio. Some forms of exercise can also improve muscle strength and bone density, which are especially important for women since they lose bone density at a faster rate after menopause than men which can result in osteoporosis amongst other conditions. Cardiovascular exercise can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses and disease.
When choosing what exercise to do, make sure that it’s something you enjoy or you’ll end up stopping. Exercise should become part of your social life and it’s a great way of meeting other people. The social aspect of exercise also helps motivation and commitment.
Going to a gym for some people can be challenging and daunting. You have to get used to new, complex equipment, navigate your way around new premises, meet new people and come outside your comfort zone. Many gyms have classes specially designed for new exercisers/members and they can be a great starting point to help you gain confidence and build your base fitness with like-minded people. There are however many places offering suitable exercise no matter what environment suits you as an individual.
Community-based fitness i.e. local churches or community halls are very popular with the over 60’s as they offer exercise classes specifically created to ensure the attendees are kept safe and the exercises are appropriate for their needs. They also tend to have a strong community feel, a good social fun element making it easy to settle into a weekly routine. I’ve personally met some of my best friends from taking these classes, and at times found myself and the group crying with laughter in the middle of a session.. Such fun times.
Variety is the key though and within your community there will be numerous options available, from senior gym sessions, water-based workouts e.g. Aqua aerobics, keep fit community classes, dance classes e.g. ballroom, Latin and Zumba Gold, swimming sessions and outdoor walking groups. Even mindful classes like yoga, Pilates and Tai-Chi.
If you have underlying health conditions, don’t worry there will still be many options out there for you, however, make sure you get medical advice from your GP before starting a new fitness program. Options range from digital workouts to be followed at home, to joining in on your local community-based classes. Just let your local instructor know you may require a little additional support before the class starts.
That said, you might just want to start at home. So find a workout online, clear some space and off you go. Try 5mins to start with and build from there.
Here are some recommendations of where to start your search for home workouts::
Chair One Fitness on YouTube provides a free fun fitness option available to anyone no matter their age or ability. This includes seniors, mobility aid users, amputees, plus size and those with dementia and developmental disabilities. Their workouts are also super fun and bring a smile to your face.!
The MS society has ‘Active Together’ videos on YouTube and these are a great way to get yourself moving in the morning. It’s recommended to do some form of exercise daily for this age group and the benefits can be significant from a physical and psychological perspective.
The Brian Grant Foundation offers a variety of Parkinson’s exercise videos across different genres.
Versus Arthritis and the NHS also have several different workouts available for those with arthritis. Daily exercises each morning can help with movement and mobility.
The Royal Osteoporosis Society offer a range of workouts for this condition.
The British Heart Foundation provide videos on how to do cardiac rehab at home. These exercise videos are only for people who have already had a cardiac rehab assessment.
So take time to spice up your activity and overall health and wellness and don’t forget to find that moment to laugh or giggle. It’s got to be fun right? Exercise can bring a new sense of fulfillment, additional social circles, renewed energy and those essential fitness endorphins which make you smile every day!