Why Exercise Is Even More Important As We Age!
Updated: Jul 28
Nowadays, we all know the importance of exercising. It is recommended that we get 30-40 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week. The problem is that the term “exercise” is very broad. Especially to those who are not experts in the field of sports science and physiotherapy. Some of us would consider walking as exercise, for others it might be weight-lifting or Pilates. The fact is, they are all forms of exercise.
However, doing just one form of exercise will not deliver the benefits of exercise that we read about. The key is variety. Walking the same distance at the same pace 5 days a week is good for you but it won’t increase your heart rate enough to strengthen your cardiovascular system (your heart) and lower your blood pressure. It will not prevent bone density loss and muscle wastage that begin to occur after the age of 40. We need to incorporate strengthening (resistance) exercises to combat and slow this process. Similarly, our flexibility and range of motion will deteriorate as we age if we don’t practice flexibility and balance exercises. Variety is the spice of life!
In our Over 55s classes we have designed a programme that incorporates cardiovascular, resistance, balance and flexibility exercises into every session.
Below we will discuss some of the benefits that a varied exercise programme have been shown to produce. To gain the maximum of these benefits below, you should combine cardiovascular and resistance (strength) training at least two to three times per week.
1. Improves cardiovascular health
A combination of cardio and strength training has been shown to be the best mix for improving heart health. It makes us fitter, increasing our endurance so everyday tasks such as climbing stairs, doing household chores, or performing your favourite hobbies remain easy to keep up as we age. Adding 30-45 minutes of exercise into your routine will greatly improve your cardiovascular performance by strengthening your heart, reducing blood pressure, leading to increased energy levels and less shortness of breath.
2. Reduces Risk of Dementia
Regular exercise delivers oxygen to and removes unnecessary waste from our muscles and organs but also our brains. By maintaining adequate blood flow to the brain, your body removes harmful waste products. These can hinder memory, processing, and standard problem solving over time. In our Over 55s classes we incorporate coordination exercises into each class to engage our central nervous system to ensure that our brains as well as our bodies are working hard.
3. Improves Bone Health
By focusing on weight training and muscle-strengthening exercises we can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. If you already have osteoporosis, resistance training has been proven to reduce its progression and severity. When faced with greater demand, our bones respond by building more bone, increasing bone density in a process known as Wolff’s Law. At Reflex Physiotherapy, our Over 55s class incorporates resistance training to improve bone and muscle density.
4. Makes You Happier
As we age it can be common to experience periods of low mood due to changing schedules or feeling a loss of purpose after retiring and not working. By exercising, the body releases natural chemicals called endorphins which increase your mood and create a sense of happiness. Added to this, a group setting with like-minded people improves mood further by enhancing opportunities for interaction and socialization.
5. Prevents Unwanted Falls
Experiencing a fall can be one of the most detrimental accidents as we grow older. A loss of function or mobility are all potential complications that can be caused by a fall. By engaging in balance and strengthening exercises the body learns how to react to prevent a fall and how to fall the right way. There’s a big focus on balance training in children. Unfortunately, these skills and learning practices can be neglected as we age. But they are just as important. In our Over 55s class we focus on balance and strength training.
6. Maintain Flexibility and Range of Motion
“If we don’t use it, we lose it.” This certainly applies to our flexibility and range of motion. After the age of 40, our bodies start to degenerate. We lose muscle mass, cartilage and bone density which affects our flexibility and range of motion. Better than any medication, exercise has been shown to be the best intervention to slow this process down. And not only that, but if you incorporate resistance (strength) training you can even reverse some of the process. That’s why here at Reflex Physiotherapy we have designed our classes to incorporate resistance training (can be bodyweight or resistance bands) into each class.
7. Supports better Sleep
Regular exercise can help us fall asleep faster because of the fluctuations of body temperature during and post-workout. It also helps initiate a deeper sleep, resulting in waking up feeling refreshed and with more energy. This aspect of exercise benefits seniors because, as we age, body systems tend to slow down. Sleeping well can help keep cognitive and physical functioning (such as concentration, standard movements, and memory) at optimal levels throughout the day
Advantages of REFLEX Physiotherapy's Over 55s Classes:
All classes are led by a Chartered Physiotherapist
We have developed options for each movement and use our expertise to prescribe the appropriate option for each client. This ensures that our classes cater for everyone, from beginner to advanced.
For more details and/or to book Pilates, speak to our physiotherapist at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (087)-6156270.