No one wants to get old. We are all getting older, every year is another year after all, but what can we do to stay well as we age? There have been a number of active ageing health articles in the media recently. We are all ageing, every single day, year after year (for many years to come hopefully!). But what does active ageing mean? And more importantly, when do you need to start taking action?
As it suggests, active ageing simply means being able to stay active and continue to do the things we want to as we age. Our ability to stay active really depends on our ability to move freely, which basically breaks down to maintaining strength and flexibility.
According to the Merck Manual, your muscle mass and strength begins to decrease from when you are around 30 years old. However, the good news is that you will only lose 10-15% of your muscle mass in your lifetime through the effects of normal ageing. One of the best ways to retain your remaining 85-90% muscle mass is through regular strength training. Body-weight exercises, like push ups, weights or using resistance bands are all excellent ways to build and maintain your strength.
More severe losses in muscle mass are usually from disease and leading a sedentary lifestyle. If you unfortunately fall ill or are injured and have to endure strict bed rest, it has been suggested that for every day you spend in bed, you may need to exercise for up to 2 weeks to regain the muscle mass that you lost.
The old adage of ‘use it or lose it’ really applies here (or more to the point ‘move it or lose it!’) Every little bit counts. Do some gardening, go for a walk or a round of golf, do a weights workout or take a yoga class, go for a swim down the beach or a bike ride. Enjoy as many different activities as you like! The more variety of movement you have, the better.
Ideally, we also want to do exercise that covers 3 main aspects. Cardio (getting out of breath), strength, and flexibility (stretching).
So when is the best time to start? Right now! It is never too early (or too late) to start exercising. Don’t be afraid to work out a bit, it will help you to stay healthy, look after your body and move with ease as you age. Feel free to speak with us if you need any help with these areas in your life.