“I can’t believe how great it feels!”
We spoke to Jenny, who is in the process of finishing up her small business so that she can start enjoying some free time … retirement! And well-deserved it is. At 71 years of age, Jenny is retiring later than most.
But of course, there’s no way Jenny will be retiring from everything – and both her social life and her health continue to be priorities. And she’s not alone. With approximately 3.9 million retirees in Australia[, options for continued wellbeing are a priority.
The problem? Only 15% of Seniors average 10,000 steps a day – many are not sufficiently active.
The Heart Foundation recommends we do something about it. According to the National Seniors’ Physical Activity Report, the “Heart Foundation Blueprint for an Active Australia includes aerobic fitness, muscle strength and flexibility programs at health clubs and recreation centers, community-based programs such as walking groups or swim clubs, and programs for people who are housebound or living in an aged care facility.”
And the benefits are powerful.
5 benefits of exercise after retirement
Regular exercise can help improve brain function, which is important for those who are determined to live long, healthy lives. Exercise helps us sleep better, lower stress levels, reduce the effects of depression, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing we’re looking after our body.
The Victorian State Government’s Better Health Channel[ notes that some of the many benefits of regular exercise for older people include:
- Muscle – some studies have suggested that muscle is lost due to age, however here is evidence that points to the change being due to a sedentary lifestyle. “Muscle mass can increase in the older person after regularly exercising for a relatively short period of time.”
- Bone – the decline in bone density that most people experience more quickly after the age of 50 years can be reduced through regular exercise. Of particular benefit is weight-bearing exercise to keep bones strong and healthy.
- Heart and lungs – while cardiovascular fitness may take longer to achieve for Seniors compared to a younger person, the physical benefits are comparable. It’s recommended that even well into retirement, seniors continue to exercise at a moderate intensity on a regular basis.
- Joints – none of us want to lose mobility, and by moving our joints regularly, we can keep them supple. Strengthening and aerobic exercise routines are particularly helpful for those facing the challenge of arthritis.
- Body fat levels – we’re all aware of the danger posed by carrying too much body fat, with its associated effects on the cardiovascular system and the onset of conditions such as diabetes. Burning kilojoules through regular exercise helps improve the metabolism and build muscle mass.
Maintaining good balance and mobility is a priority for seniors, and it’s the low bone mass that causes lack of balance. Walking alone isn’t going to build the muscle mass that’s needed – regular strength exercises are essential.
Improved cognitive function
Our brain cells love getting a healthy supply of oxygen, and improved cognitive function is one of the fabulous benefits of regular exercise. After all, we’ve got to stay sharp to make sure those young ones stay in line!
While the research is still underway, Dementia Australia states that “people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience heart disease and stroke, both factors that are associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. Exercise is also important in reducing the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity, all of which are risk factors for dementia.”
Exercising in a group means there’s time for a laugh together, and each person can encourage the other. It’s an enormous benefit in a society where too many people feel isolated, and also has the advantage of accountability – when someone’s expecting you to turn up, there’s more incentive to get there and get it done.
At Easy Exercising we make an effort to build communities that are fun, and everyone appreciates the occasions when we get together for lunch or special events as well.
To learn more about what it’s like to do exercising the easy way, contact us and set up your free trial session.
We’d love to meet you!