07 Oct 20 Fitness Tips for Older Women
in Active Ageing
Movement of any kind can help women of all ages live a longer, healthier life. Let’s look at some tips to get you winding back the years and getting active!
1. Consult with your doctor first
Before taking on more exercise in any form, it’s vitally important to make sure your body is good to go. A visit to your regular doctor or GP is a great place to start. GPs can check your blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health and also measure your waistline to ensure you’re in a healthy condition before kick starting any new fitness programs. They can also refer you to the best possible person to support you – not sure why you need a doctor for this, click here for read more.
2. Reduce the booze
When we age, our body reacts more differently to alcohol and in ways that you’ve never experienced before. By reducing your alcohol you are able to reduce the risk of longer term health issues such as cancer and heart issues. Less alcohol can also reduce your weight and give you more energy to exercise!
3. Find what motivates you
Sometimes we think that exercise is a chore? How about we reframe that. Exercise should be motivated by factors that drive you not just weight loss – it’s about improving your overall health or living longer! What to know more about finding the right motivation – click here.
4. Understand the guidelines and what will suit you
According to the Australian guidelines, it is recommended that older adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days. If 30 minutes seems too much to you, don’t worry, as some activity, however light, is better for your health than none at all. This could be walking around the block, doing some gardening, or even playing some backyard cricket.
5. Find the right person to support you
If you have no idea where to being – it’s important to find a suitable qualified professional that you trust your health with. Speak to an Accredited Exercise Professional. Basically, an exercise physiologist or scientist specialises in designing and delivering safe and effective exercise programs for all populations. Having a chat with one before undertaking any exercise is a smart move.
6. Cycle your way to better health
Jumping on a bike is not only good for the environment it is also a fantastic aerobic activity. Cycling can help give your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. You will breathe deeper, sweat and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level.
7. Avoid the escalators
Stair climbing burns more calories than a traditional walk and increases your chance to achieve weight loss. It can help to improve your energy, increase the function of your immune system and lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and heart disease.
8. Weight training is not just for the kids
Women of all ages should consider weight training as vital and you DO NOT need any equipemnt. Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, or step ups will help to increase muscle tone, maintain sound strength, build bone density, maintain a healthy weight, optimize metabolic function, and reduce the risk of injury, falls and fatigue. It is recommended a minimum of two sessions per week be conducted to achieve the benefits of this training.
9. Resistance is key
Resistance training is one of the most effective ways to maintain muscle mass as we age. There’s a wide range of benefits of engaging in resistance training, and we listed 22 of them here.
10. Enlist your friends
A social exercise group class may not immediately ease your arthritis or make your shoulder range amazing but if you have a good time doing it, you’ll feel better. Feeling better means you’ll be more likely to go back again to help kick start those health benefits. Even exercising with a buddy can help keep you accountable ensuring you both get your body moving and heart pumping.
11. Become a water baby
Hydrotherapy is a type of exercise therapy done in a heated pool. It has a wide range of benefits and is used to target and treat a variety of conditions. The use of gentle, controlled movements in warm water (heated up to 31-35 degrees) allows people to steadily progress their range of movement. It’s also a safe, comfortable and often enjoyable environment.
12. Don’t ignore the core
Core strength is more than just working on the six-pack. These muscles support the spine through flexion, extension and rotation, and incorporate the pelvic floor. Learning how to properly engage and activate these muscles daily will help to prevent injury during daily activity, prevent incontinence, boost sexual health, and improve pelvic stability.
13. Be aware of what you eat
Good nutrition plays a key role in healthy ageing and quality of life, especially when there are many physiological changes associated with the ageing process. When it comes to providing adequate nutrition, making every mouthful count is key, and speaking with an Accredited Practising Dietitian can sometimes be the best option if you have any concerns.
14. Tai Chi, yoga…pilates?
All of the above activities might advertise young women being active but all are fantastic options for older women. One study showed that three months of twice weekly, 30-minute Tai Chi classes was associated with statistically significant improvements in balance and functional mobility and a reduction in the fear of falling in this sample of older women living in retirement communities. Other studies have shown yoga can provide support for women with osteoarthritis, insomnia and falls prevention.
15. Stretch in front of the TV
Settling down for your favourite tv show? Why not use this time to help your body stay flexible. Resistance stretching (also known as power band stretching) allows you to increase your range of motion and keeps your body moving correctly.
16. Challenge your balance: Hold one-ear and stand on one leg
Balance exercises are so important for older women over the age of 55 to help enhance your overall awareness, coordination, maintain muscle activity and tone, and prevent against falls and the resulting injuries.
17. Be open to new things
There is no one perfect workout or exercise; everyone is different. There’s a wide selection of exercise or physical activity you can undertake from swimming, line dancing, bowls, walking soccer, walking the dog, the list goes on! Creating an exercise habit is difficult, but finding one you enjoy can make it easier to come back to – and more likely you’ll stick to your program.
18. Don’t worry about running giving you bad knees
The reality is that running is hard on your body but that’s why it can impact our health in such profound, positive way. Our body adapts and evolves to physical stress if it is dosed out appropriately and investing some money in the right pair of shoes helps too.
19. Listen to your heart (rate)
Exercise is a great way to keep your heart happy and healthy and it’s a good idea to pay attention to your heart rate during exercise. For adults, moderate intensity exercise is about 50%-65% of your age-predicted heart rate maximum. Your maximum age-predicted heart rate is calculated as follows: Age-predicted HR max = 220 – age. For example, if you’re 50 years old, your maximum HR would be approximately 170 (220 – 50).
20. Remember to take time to recover
Your body won’t recover quite as quickly as it once did when you were younger, so it’s important to take it easy and to allow yourself some recovery time. Whenever we exercise, the body undergoes change to adapt to the stress that we place on it. The by-product of these adaptations can include muscle soreness and fatigue and reduced muscle strength and power. Resting your body is essential by getting plenty of sleep and staying hydrated.
If you need help to start exercising, to just want to learn how to exercise right for your need, talk to your local accredited exercise professional.
To find one near you, click here.