Exercise is an important aspect of life for people of all ages. It has many physical and mental health benefits, and it is never too late to build physical activity into your daily routine. However, the older you are, the more important exercise becomes. This is because regular exercise can increase bone strength, strengthen your joints, and increases the elasticity of your muscles. This in turn retains muscle mass and improves mobility which is a difficulty many people over the age of 60 face.
Top Tips for starting your exercise journey
- Consultation. Before you start exercising, it is vital that you arrange a consultation with either your doctor or your physiotherapist so that they can assess your fitness level to confirm you are healthy enough and to reduce the chance of injury. If you have any underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or arthritis, don’t be discouraged as sometimes exercise can help to manage your condition.
- Always warm up and stretch – simple stretches and movements for your legs and arms will help your muscles become ready for the exercise session ahead. This decreases the chance of muscle cramps and injury.
- Slow and steady wins the race. If it is your first time exercising after a long time, your body will not be used to intense movement so you will have to build up to it. Swimming is a great way to start exercising. It uses nearly all parts of your body, helps to relieve joint pain, is mentally relaxing and is great for getting your heart pumping. You can start off slow by doing 1-2 laps at a time and build up to 10 laps over a few weeks.
- Keep track of progress – monitoring how far you have come since the start of your exercise journey can help to inspire and encourage you on days you feel demotivated. Having a good support system will also help to motivate you
- Eat well and hydrate yourself – make sure you are eating enough carbohydrates and proteins to fuel your body and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Also make sure to take rest days every 2-3 days in order to not tire your body out.
A great exercise to help improve your balance, and strengthen the leg and foot muscles is tandem walking, see the video below. You can do this walking forwards and then backwards! We would always recommend before carrying out new exercises that you are assessed by a chartered physiotherapist.
If you feel that physiotherapy can help with starting exercise or any injuries relating to exercise, please contact Home Physio Group on 0330 335 1016 to talk to our team, or alternatively, please use the contact form on the website and we will reach out to you.