Why we should exercise as we age

Sarah Wässer
Written by Sarah Wässer

Our health is of utmost importance, yet so many of us don’t give it the attention it deserves. We all lead such busy lives that things like exercising and eating healthily kind of fall to the wayside. Yes, that may be fine for you now, but how are you going to be in 10, 20, 30 years’ time? During our first few decades we can treat our body fairly badly and not have much impact but carry on with that lifestyle and you’ll see that your body reacts a lot differently! So why should we opt for a more active lifestyle? What are the benefits on our mind and body?

Not to scare you but as we age our body changes:

  • Loss of calcium. This results in bone mass loss (more so for females post menopause) which can lead to osteoporosis. About 1% is lost by women each year.
  • Skeletal changes which puts us at risk of spinal curvatures, brittle bones and fractures, as well as leading to poor posture. No one wants a hunched back out of choice.
  • Peak muscle mass is reached by around age 30, after which we start losing that mass and increasing in fat. You lose about 5% of muscle mass each decade. This affects our power and strength, so every day movement becomes harder.
  • Cardio-respiratory issues are more commonplace, partially due to inactivity rather than age, but there are changes such as a decreased cardiac muscle and heart volume, increased blood pressure and reduced temperature regulation for example.
  • Our aging nervous system affects our coordination, balance and reaction times.

Just a few things to think about!

There are probably lots of different aged people reading this so it may not be relevant to you yet, but we all get old and these could happen to you in the future if you don’t take some preventative measures. I’m not saying you have to become an athlete, you just need to add moderate activity into your daily life.

What are the benefits of exercise:

  • Better overall health
  • More energy and vitality
  • Improved mental and physical wellbeing – it improves our mood if we can get that serotonin going and helps stress levels
  • Prevent obesity and metabolise fat more easily
  • Build stronger bones and muscles
  • Prevent heart disease and other heart/lung related issues
  • Reduces the risk of falling
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
Image by Susanne Pälmer from Pixabay

Hopefully you can now see how important it is to stay active and what you can avoid in the future by working on it in the present. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to start. It may be completely alien to you to do any form of exercise, so just take it one step at a time. As I said earlier, you don’t need to become an athlete, you just need to add in exercise where you can and build on it from there.  As a guideline, it’s recommended that you aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week along with strength based exercise at least twice a week and some flexibility moves where you can.

I’m currently offering my 14 Day Healthy Starter programme which is ideal for anyone who’s new to exercise or who’s had a bit of a break. You’ll get exercise routines, motivation, a food plan for 7 days and daily tips and advice. For a limited time, I’m offering it for £30. Find out more on my website.

Good luck with changing your lifestyle for the better!

Main image by StockSnap from Pixabay

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