It is now common knowledge that we are an aging population. People are living longer, in fact on average 19 years longer than we did 60 years ago. So the most important question becomes: How to grow old healthily, so that we can actually enjoy those extra years?
Whether you’re just starting to think about your golden years or are well into retirement, most people report having similar goals: remaining independent; keeping mentally sharp; and staying as mobile as possible. This kind of successful aging requires savvy planning and decision making. The American Consumer Reports survey found that mobility decreases dramatically as you age. 33% of those older than 80 have difficulty walking, and more than 25% struggle when getting out of chairs. So an exercise plan that maintains strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic capacity is vital.
One of the ongoing effects of aging is the loss of muscle mass. The saying is, ‘If you don’t use it, you will lose it’. Aging also brings a decline in aerobic capacity and flexibility, which together increase the risk of falls. And this is at a time in life when bones can become more brittle. The consumer reports survey found that 18% of people surveyed over 50 had fallen in the last year. Of those, 71% were injured and 8% broke a bone.
However, the good news is that no matter whether you’ve just reached 50, or are well on your way to the centenary mark, there are strategies that can help you stay healthy and active.
The Best Way To Exercise
Have an assessment with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who specialized in prescribing exercise for aging, chronic diseases and musculoskeletal injuries. This can be arranged by either contacting your local Optimum studio or getting a referral from your GP.
Cardio: Do 150 minute of cardio every week. Aim for at least 30 minutes at a time of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, swimming) five days a week.
Strength: Complete 2-3 strength sessions a week on non-consecutive days. Start slowly and work your way into it, it is also important to target upper body, lower body and core.
Balance: Balancing exercises should be done daily. A simple exercise is to practice standing on one leg and holding it for as long as possible.
Flexibility: Stretches for all the main muscle groups should also be done daily. Hold each stretch for around 30 seconds.
For an individualised exercise program focused on you and your healthy aging process, contact your nearest Optimum clinic to see an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.