Stamina, flexibility, bone density, and muscle strength – these are some of our key health concerns as we age. But our attitudes towards the ageing process are also changing.
An active man or women over the age of 60 can achieve the same level of fitness as a much younger person who is inactive.
There are certain genetic blueprints that will begin to play out in our health, often beginning around the age of 40.
But if we are mindful and start on a healthy path, we can work with these changes, making this a very empowering stage of life.
Before You Start
It’s important not to overdo it, especially when starting out. Here are some things to take into account when exercising after the age of 60.
• Your prior exercise experience – have you kept up regular exercise or are you coming into this as a new endeavour?
• Your genetic blueprint and body type – pre-existing conditions and even our body type can affect the way we exercise and must be taken into account.
If you have a history of heart disease, high or low blood pressure, or osteoporosis, exercise programs must be designed accordingly. Consult with an exercise physiologist for a tailor-made program.
• Any previous injuries – even if they occurred some time ago, they can resurface
• Your approach – enthusiasm is great but remaining relaxed is also important. Now is a time to enjoy the fitness journey rather than striving for an unrealistic fitness goal.
Great Exercise Routines for Over 60s
Brisk walking is an ideal form of exercise at this stage of life. Walking allows us to pay closer attention to the world around us and is an exercise in mindfulness.
Breathing rhythmically as you walk will lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. Arthritic and rheumatic joints will benefit from movement, reducing stiffness and soreness. Walking can take the place of running and protect against injury. High-level cardio activity can be harmful when conditions such as high blood pressure exist, due to the impact of stress on the heart.
For those with low blood pressure who are mindful of over exertion or heat stress, walking is also suitable. Walking is also great for diabetics, as it stabilises blood sugar levels. When our metabolism is functioning well, it is easier for us to lose extra weight and keep it off.
Gentle Weight Bearing
Weight bearing is becoming increasingly popular in exercise programs for over 60’s. Resistance exercises such as curls, lunges as well as light dumbbells support osteoarthritis recovery by building strength. Improving muscle mass, core body strength, and toning arms and legs are all great ways to improve overall fitness.
A leaner, stronger body will boost the metabolism, and enhance immune system functioning, keeping illness at bay. Muscle tone helps us to feel more confident stable and reduces the risk of injuries even in our day to day activities.
Hydrotherapy Exercising in the water is great for injury recovery, or if weight bearing activity is limited due to excess weight. Hydrotherapy programs a great place to start exercising and building tone, stamina, and confidence.
These exercises are gentle and invigorating and joining a class is great for motivation. Pilates will shape and tone your body, but most importantly it will build strength around your core areas for support throughout the musculoskeletal system.
There is a reason this art form has been practised for hundreds of years at this stage of life. Tai Chi will improve balance, strength and co-ordination, but it will also centre your energy. Tai Chi is based on the principles of Taoism, a philosophy which draws inspiration from the ebb and flow of the natural world.
The practice of Tai Chi challenges negative ideas about growing older and puts the mind in accord with ageing as a natural process. As you can see, the options for exercise are many and varied.
In order to develop a program that’s right for you, seek the guidance of a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.
They can create a tailor-made exercise program for you. To make a booking or learn more about our physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, or other therapies, contact our friendly team on 08 8331 1557 or visit one of our clinics.