Benefits of Exercise for the over 40’s

This week I have been thinking about motivation to exercise and one of the keys to motivating urselves to exercise is obviously to enjoy it as well as think about the health reasons behind why we are exercising.

I’d like to share this fantastic article by the World Health Organisation that explains how much exercise we need to be doing as well as the wonderful health benefits.

We should exercise in order to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and functional health, reduce the risk of NCDs, depression and cognitive decline:
• Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
• Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
• For additional health benefits, older adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate-and vigorous-intensity activity.
• Older adults, with poor mobility, should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
• Muscle-strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups, should be done on 2 or more days a week.

Benefits to the older body

Some of the many benefits of regular exercise for older people include:
• Muscle – the amount and size of muscle fibres decreases with age. Some studies suggest that the average body loses around 3kg of lean muscle every decade from middle age. The muscle fibres that seem to be most affected are those of the ‘fast twitch’ (phasic) variety, which govern strength and speedy contraction. There is evidence to suggest that these changes are related to a sedentary lifestyle, rather than age. Muscle mass can increase in the older person after regularly exercising for a relatively short period of time.
• Bone – bone density begins to decline after the age of 40, but this loss accelerates around the age of 50 years. As a result of this bone loss, older people are more prone to bone fractures. Exercise may help to reduce the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise, in particular, helps to keep bones healthy and strong.
• Heart and lungs – moderate intensity exercise is most favourable: for example, exercising at about 70 per cent of the individual’s maximum heart rate (220 beats per minute minus your age). Studies show that cardiorespiratory fitness takes longer to achieve in an older person than a young person, but the physical benefits are similar. Regardless of age, people are able to improve their cardiorespiratory fitness through regular exercise.
• Joints – the joints of the body require regular movement to remain supple and healthy. In particular, people with arthritis can benefit from aerobic and strengthening exercise programs.
• Body fat levels – carrying too much body fat has been associated with a range of diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Regular exercise burns kilojoules, increases muscle mass and speeds the metabolism. Together, these physiological changes help maintain an appropriate weight for their height and build.

So why don’t you see if you can add some more exercise into you schedule for this week as well as our workouts you may want to do some more walking, golf and even housework also counts as exercise-but I much prefer gardening as another option!

I’d be interested in finding out what different ways you exercise and what helps to motivate you to move more…?