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Getting more exercise when you are over 50

Monday, 19 September 2016 by David Seymour

Getting more exercise when you are over 50

If you are over the age of 50, chances are you are not getting enough exercise.

Studies have shown that staying physically active reduces the risk of a number of chronic illnesses, especially in older individuals. This is why getting enough exercise is so important when you are older.

In many cases, people who are 50 and older only move around to accomplish their typical daily routines. In other words, they are not maintaining a regular exercise regimen. Researchers at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also found that the older a person is, the less exercise he or she gets.

The numbers are quite surprising given that people are living longer than ever before. Approximately 25 per cent of those aged between 50 and 64 are inactive, and 27 per cent of people aged between 65 and 74 are inactive. Thirty-five per cent of people over the age of 75 get no exercise at all.

Staying active and eating right are essential for good health, both physical and mental, in the twilight years. Older individuals should take advantage of programmes that might help them stay active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Older individuals should focus on a combination of strength training, cardio, flexibility training, core training, and balance training, just like younger people.

If you are over the age of 50 and are not as active as you should be, you do not have to start hitting the gym every day. Cardio can be any activity that uses your entire body to increase your heart rate. This could be taking a walk, going for a run, riding a bicycle, or even doing household chores. It is ideal to get at least 30 minutes of cardio a day.

Strength training should be done twice a week for around half an hour. You do not need fancy equipment; push-ups, bicep curls, lunges, modified squats, and resistance bands are all great for this purpose. Just remember to leave about 24 to 48 hours of rest between each strength training session so that your body has time to recover.

Stretching is also essential, and you do not need to do a lot of it. Just five to ten minutes a day is recommended. Be sure to stretch your whole body and include movements such as head circles, which you can even do in the shower. End your days by stretching your calves and hamstrings.

As you get older, balance and core training are more important than ever. These two could help to prevent falls later in life. You can ease balance training into your normal daily routine by balancing on one leg in the line at the market. For core training, do a few abdominal exercises like partial crunches every morning so that you make it a habit.

The key to growing old gracefully is staying active, so get off the sofa and start moving!

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