We have clients 50+ at our gym/clinic. They get physiotherapy treatment, nutrition and train in our classes and/or with our personal trainers. Evidence shows that ageing alone is not a cause of major problems until you are in your mid-90s. And strength, power and muscle mass can be increased, even at this advanced age. The progress that can be made at any age can pay dividends in the long term as we all age. Let's dive a little deeper into how keeping active can slow ageing, increase life expectancy and what you can do!
For the averagely fit
You are doing well, so keep going. Long-term consistency is the key for benefits. You don’t necessarily have to join a gym, just keep building meaningful physical activity into your day. For example, walk briskly to the shops to get your groceries, keep up gardening and be active around your house. Even repeating simple stair climbing is a great exercise.
If you are suffering from hip or knee pain, walking may be painful, so try cycling or water-based exercise instead.
You may be managing complex chronic conditions, which make it more difficult to exercise. Or it may be that exercise is not a habit for you. If you have several chronic conditions, you may need clearance from a doctor to exercise and specialised exercise advice from a physiotherapist or other exercise professional.
If you are experiencing three or more of the following: unplanned weight loss, exhaustion, slowness, weakness of grip and physical inactivity you may be considered frail, which will leave you vulnerable to even minor health stresses. But it is never too late to build more physical activity into your daily life. Even reducing time spent sitting and doing a little exercise will have major health benefits, doing any type of activity at all is better than none. Even chair-based exercises or practising sit-to-stand can be a great start.
Feeling a bit out of breath with exercise is normal and some initial aches and joint pain are fine. But if you ever feel chest pain or severe discomfort, you need to see a doctor straight away.
If you have a set-back such as a chest infection or fall which results in a hospital admission, get up and moving as soon as is safely possible. Even a few days of bed rest can result in major decreases in strength and fitness.
If you have surgery scheduled, being as active as possible before being admitted to hospital and start moving as soon as possible afterwards will help your recovery. It may also prevent complications that could prolong your hospital stay.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, keep active, even during treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and during recovery. If you have other common chronic conditions, such as heart or lung disease, keep as active as your condition allows.
Just remember, whatever your state of health, it’s never too late to reap the benefits of being more physically active. Do your best and make an active lifestyle priority. Good luck.