Commitment to healthy ageing!*

Tuesday, 28 March 2017, By Alicia Jovcevski

Commitment to healthy ageing!

Do the number of candles on your birthday cake correlate to the number of things slowing down in your body as you age? Only if you let it!

Fact: People worldwide are living longer! For the first time in history, most people can expect to live well into their 60's and beyond.  How great is that?!

Fact: Studies suggest that bone density starts to decrease after the age of 40 and accelerates at around the age of 50.

Fact: Only around 1 in 10 Australians over the age of 50, exercise enough to gain any cardiovascular benefit.

So, the question is: Do you have to get "old"? The answer is no! Only chronologically older.

As we age, our bodies require more care and more maintenance to put us in good stead for the elderly years. Disease and disability were once considered an inevitable part of growing older but that is no longer the case. Once you reach that "middle age" bracket it is said that your chances of health issues start to increase but remaining healthy and active into our advancing years is the key to fighting fit & increasing longevity to enjoy good quality of life.

Common health conditions associated with ageing
Common conditions in older age can include: back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia and depression to name a few, and as we age it is more likely that we can experience these conditions at the same time.
Other medical issues such as experiencing falls and frailty etc. all become more prevalent as we get older as well.

Studies have found that up to 50% of the physical decline associated with ageing can be due to lack of physical activity. The good news is, it is never too late to start!

Factors that can influence healthy ageing
Genetics can play a role in someone's health as they get older, but for most of us, we can help the process of ageing by maintaining healthy behaviours throughout life.

Good nutrition
We require more vitamins and minerals the older we get. However, lifestyle (income) and appetite can change and affect the type and amount of foods we eat.
It is vital to use every meal and snack as an opportunity for maximum nutrition.
Older adults should reduce their intake of high-salt foods, limit intake of saturated fats and trans fats, along with ensuring their diet consists of enough calcium and vitamin D to help protect against Osteoporosis and to help build and maintain healthy bones.

Strength training is paramount. As we get older, studies have shown that we can lose between 3-5% of muscle mass every 10 years which causes us to lose muscle function. Muscle strength is extremely important for good bone health, our balance and coordination to prevent trips and falls, maintaining strength for carrying out daily activities like carrying groceries or walking up and down stairs and retaining good joint flexibility and mobility.

Aerobic exercise is just as important as well. Despite the many benefits of regular strength training, it will not provide you with all the health and fitness benefits you need.
You still need to make an effort to include some regular aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling etc. into your week, with moderate intensity being most favourable.
Arthritis affects nearly half the elderly population and is a leading cause of disability, but regular and steady exercise is the key to prevention as it keeps the body mobile.

Similarly, managing your body weight is just as essential for joint health as it is for cardiovascular health as your risk of heart disease increases with age, followed closely by high blood pressure and diabetes.
Regular exercise burns calories, increases muscle mass and keeps the metabolism firing. Together, these physiological changes help an older person maintain a healthy weight. This helps to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke also.

Many people believe the misconception that we need to slow down & lead sedentary lifestyles once we reach the ripe "old" age of 50 - this statement is quite the contrary on both accounts!

Being active and doing things that keep your heart healthy will actually keep your brain healthy as well. The same blood vessels that go to the heart branch off and go to the brain.
The impact of depression on health in older adults can be severe, much research has reported that depression is associated with worse health in people with conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Staying active can help to decrease susceptibility to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression and can make a real difference in someone's quality of life. Remaining fit and active can help to re-instil a sense of independence and self-confidence.

It is important to note the importance of getting guidance from a qualified and experienced Personal Trainer, especially if you are starting out, inexperienced, have injuries or suffer from any other health issues, it should not be overlooked.

If people can experience these extra years of life in good health and they live in a supportive and positive environment, their ability to perform tasks and the things that they value will be little different from that of a younger person.

Don't let an "old person" move into your body! Look after yourself, get regular health check-ups, have a positive attitude, remain active and do the things that you enjoy, stay strong and use your muscles without doing exercises that can hurt your joints.

Just as planning for your future financial needs is important, so is planning for optimum health.
Age is just a number you cannot control, but you can always stay young at heart... literally!

Alicia Jovcevski
Studio Owner

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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