Look Good, Live Longer

by Sue Beesley

The second in the series of health tips from Cath Sweeney of JJB Health Fitnes Centre, Bangor.

Many of you will have read the Government's advice that research is showing we should all undertake at least 5 ?moderate? exercise sessions a week to help ensure our good health as we get older.

How many of us do, and how many of us take the view that exercise is solely the province of younger people?

Unfortunately, the latter are in the majority. However, all is not lost and it?s never too late to make that resolution and to dust off the gym shoes,?and it's never too soon either!!

The benefits of exercise are obvious to all but the most dedicated couch potato and scientific research is confirming the positives all the time.

The most recent research from the USA shows that elderly? (all were over 50) joggers are half as likely to die from ailments such as cancer than non-joggers.

Age?related disabilities were delayed by an average of 16 years and there was no evidence that they wore their knees out or suffered increases in osteoarthritis etc.

So, there's the excuses debunked too!

Exercise has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, including reducing high blood pressure.

It reduces cholesterol, helps sufferers of osteoarthritis and type II diabetes and a host of other conditions.

It can even be effective in alleviating depression and increasing bone density.

So, as someone approaching 40, 50, 60 or over, where do we begin to start getting fit?

A fitness programme should be tailored to our specific health and fitness levels.

A heart attack or stroke should not be a barrier to exercise but, clearly, they need to be taken into account.

Every programme should include warm-up and cool-down phases.

A typical warm up would be at least 15 minutes on the treadmill at a pace that does not leave you gasping for breath.

The core of the programme can focus on aerobic, resistance, functional or flexibility training exercises or a combination of all four.

Aerobic training will reduce incidents of breathlessness and provides the greatest protection against physiological changes due to ageing.

Meanwhile, resistance training can enhance quality of life and boost independence. Functional training stimulates movement and action of muscles required for every day tasks.

Flexibility training improves the range of movement that age often takes from us.

If you join a gym then there will be instructors or personal trainers available to help you balance the various components. Don't be afraid to ask, they want to help!

Cass is a freelance REPS certified Personal Trainer and you can contact her on 07954338342, cass(dot)sweeney(at)virgin(dot)net

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