Today is National Fitness Day, a UK-wide event promoting physical activity. Thousands of leisure sites across the UK will open their doors to people of all ages, allowing them to try out a multitude of activities from martial arts to dancing and yoga. To celebrate this year’s National Fitness Day, Lifeline24 takes a look at the best ways to stay fit over-60.
There is compelling evidence that physical activity helps to slow the body’s decline, but as we get older, we tend to spend less and less time engaging in our prescribed bit of exercise. The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity a week – so which are the best activities to try this National Fitness Day if you’re over the age of 60?
It doesn’t sound like it should count, but walking is actually one of the best forms of exercise out there. Not only does regular walking reduce the risk of heart disease, a stroke and even some cancers, but it’s also easy to work into a daily routine.
Whether walking to a friend’s house, walking the dog, shopping, or even just admiring the scenery, it’s one of those activities you can engage in almost without thought.
It’s worth noting, however, that to reap the health benefits of walking you need to make sure that it falls under ‘moderate activity’. A leisurely stroll sadly won’t do.
A form of exercise that’s been around for several millennia, the aim of yoga is to benefit both body and mind, and it really does help both. Yoga has been shown to help those with high blood pressure, heart disease and even depression.
It’s especially beneficial to those at high risk of falls, by helping to strengthen the lower body. While it doesn’t count towards those coveted 150 minutes, its numerous other health benefits make it more than worth a try.
There are classes for people of all ability levels, so it’s an easy one to break into. Plus, given it’s popularity, it’s a decent bet it’ll be one of the activities on offer this National Fitness Day.
Not as easy to work into a routine as walking, but it carries many of the same benefits and even a few extra. Swimming has been shown to help with heart disease, diabetes and to prevent a stroke. It can also help improve your general mood. As with yoga, there are classes for people of all abilities at most local pools.
To gain the most benefit, it’s best to turn swimming into a regular habit, putting aside an aquatic hour or two each week
All the benefits of walking and swimming, but with a little more speed. Cycling definitely counts toward your 150 minutes, and is easy to work into a daily routine.
For shorter journeys, it can be worth opting for bike over bus: a healthier choice, and one that often won’t lose you that much time.
If you’ve not cycled before or haven’t for a while it’s worth finding somewhere off-road to (re)acquaint yourself with the ins and outs. Perhaps a footpath or public park would be a good way to kick-start your cycling hobby.
Hit the Gym
If you’re struggling to choose, why not go for a bit of everything? Most gyms now have an impressive array of machines for all types of workout routines. Go for a row, run on a treadmill and, if there’s energy left over, lift the odd weight.
If all that machinery seems a little daunting, any decent gym will have expert staff who can point you in the right direction.
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