Many adults aged 65 and over spend, on average, 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group (NHS).
As we get older, it becomes much more important to remain active with studies suggesting from 30 years of age, we begin losing 3-5 percent of muscle per year. When our muscles are weak, we are more susceptible to falls and ill-health so to avoid frailty we need to do something.
Guidelines recommend strengthening your bones and muscles at least twice a week but this needn’t be as hard as it seems. Activity can be found in everything that we do, from carrying the shopping to putting out the washing, each movement can help you build strength.
Think about how these activities integrate into your daily life, and when they become easy challenge yourself. Our bodies are terrific instruments and they adapt quickly to what we want them to do. If you begin to find going shopping easier, why not use a basket rather than pushing a trolley for smaller shops : when gardening, once you’re used to kneeling with your bottom on your heels try kneeling on your knees for a while. Every small change you make will help your muscles retain some of their strength and help you avoid injury and illness.
Aside from making daily activities harder, there are many other ways you can keep yourself moving.
Other activities with the most benefit to you and your strength:
– Ball Games
Ever heard of walking football? It’s a great alternative to the ordinary game
As we get older, many of us struggle with our balance, strength, stamina, weight and worst of all confidence and self-esteem levels but walking football has the potential to make a significant impact in all these areas, building body strength, improving muscles, core stability and hopefully losing some of the weight usually gained during the ageing process.
– Racket Sports
Many parks in Leeds have open tennis courts that you can reserve for free such as Chapel Allerton, Meanwood and Roundhay. Take a friend or family member and have a gentle game.
Nordic walking is a total body version of walking which uses walking poles similar to ski poles to decrease the load and strain on the lower body. It helps tone upper arms, shoulders and back muscles whilst helping you to develop core strength and stability. You can book a taster session here.
– Resistance Training
If this is more your type of exercise why not start with some body weight exercise that you can do in your home or garden.
- Push-ups (against the wall, on your knees, or on your toes)
- Shoulder presses (reaching your hands in the air or with water bottles)
- Bicycle crunches (two to three sets of ten to 15 reps three times a week)