HOW TO START EXERCISING IN YOUR 60s (1)
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How To Start Exercising In Your 60s

How To Start Exercising In Your 60s. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from James Staring, Lead Trainer at Fit to Last. James will explore how and why to start exercising in your 60s and above. As we age, it’s natural for our bodies to undergo changes that can lead to a decline in physical function. However, research has shown that exercise can help slow down this ageing process, and it’s never too late to start.

Even if you’ve never exercised, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can have numerous benefits, from improving cardiovascular health to boosting mood and cognitive function. By staying active, you can maintain muscle mass and bone density, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and enhance overall quality of life. So why not take that first step towards a healthier, more vibrant you?

How To Start Exercising In Your 60s

If you imagine that once you hit 60, it’s too late to start exercising, think again. Evidence supports exercising as you get older, even if you’ve not done much exercise before.

To help you start and maintain a healthy exercise routine, here are a few steps to help you start exercising at 60 and above and some benefits when making this life-changing decision. By exercise, we’re referring to movement that uses your entire body, like walking, swimming, cycling or resistance training.

Getting Started

Do Something You Enjoy

People often tell me, ‘I need to start running’. When I ask them if they enjoy running, they often reply, ‘No, actually, I can’t stand it’. When exercising, please don’t fall into the trap of starting something solely because you’ve heard you should do it. Start with activities you like doing the most.

You’ll always gravitate to what you enjoy most. Think about the physical activities you like doing. If walking is an activity you enjoy, start with that. If you’re a fan of beach holidays, perhaps swimming is a good option. By starting with the beaten path of things you already like, you’re on your way to a habit, you can maintain.

Commit To A Plan You Can Stick To

When you start exercising, look at your diary and confirm times and durations you can commit to week in, week out. When starting, the best way to develop this healthy habit is to build on small wins. Suppose you can only exercise for 20 minutes twice per week, fabulous. Block those dates and time slots in your calendar and make them appointments you don’t miss. By committing to times that you can attend consistently, you’ll build a healthy, sustainable habit.

Log Your Progress And Reward Your Successes

A common error people make is to compare themselves with more advanced exercisers when they’ve only just started. You’ve just decided to start exercising – reward yourself for sticking to it. As you mark off the sessions you’ve completed on your calendar, set small benchmarks and reward yourself when those goals are achieved.

Jerry Seinfeld was once asked what his process is for writing jokes. He has a large desk calendar in his kitchen, and each day he writes jokes, he marks a large red ‘X’ on the date in the calendar. The key is not to break the chain of x’s.

To add to this strategy, decide at the start what you’ll do every month you complete your exercise sessions. Mark that event in the same calendar you commit to your exercise. This way, you can see the progress you’re making. You can also see an incentive for those days when your motivation wanes.

Benefits Of Starting Exercise At 60 +

You’ve decided to exercise at 60 – excellent work! Before you change your mind, here are five benefits to this life-changing decision.

Reduced Risk/Discomfort Of Chronic Diseases

By starting exercise at 60 or above, you can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and the impact of these conditions—reduced arthritis pain. While exercise can’t eliminate arthritic pain, it can help alleviate the pressure on your joints. Regular exercise can help reduce arthritis pain by building muscle tissue around the joints. This helps to improve the joint’s overall support system, thereby taking pressure off the joint itself.

Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and reduced cognitive function and memory deterioration. According to an ongoing University of Wisconsin study comparing groups under and over 60, those over 60 showed an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and a decline in cognitive function and memory. However, these risks were significantly decreased among those over 60 who reported moderate exercise for 30 minutes five times per week.

Decreased Fall Risk

As you get older, one of the unfortunate side effects is skeletal muscle loss (sarcopenia). According to Jeremy Walston in Current Opinion of Rheumatology, Sarcopenia can start in your 40s and progress linearly to the point where you’ve lost 60% of your skeletal muscle in your 80s. It would be best to preserve skeletal muscle for various reasons, including weight management. But skeletal muscle is also vital for helping you stay stable on your feet as you age. If skeletal muscle loss isn’t addressed, you’ll run a greater risk of falling as you age, which can lead to catastrophic consequences.

When you exercise using your full body in activities like walking, swimming, and full-body resistance training, you cause your body to adapt by physically challenging it. This adaptation leads to a more stable physical foundation, as the muscles that complete these activities must strengthen. Think of regular exercise as ‘future-proofing’ your body. By starting now, you’ll help your body become more stable, so as you age, you will be confident and stronger on your feet.

More Energy

When you exercise regularly, your body will adapt to the new challenges you’re asking it to respond to. Increased activity will cause you to breathe a little bit deeper and heavier. While initially, this may feel uncomfortable, challenging your body this way will adapt, and you’ll breathe more effectively. When you breathe more effectively, you will become better at sending oxygen out to the rest of your body. This will help you feel more energetic as you go about your day.

Better Daily Movement

You continuously improve at what you practice, and movement is no different. As you get older, unfortunately, the natural inclination is to move less. When you move less, your muscles will shorten, and you lose the dexterity and flexibility you had when you were younger. By encouraging your body to move more regularly, you’ll be stretching out muscles that would usually shorten if you weren’t moving around as much. By consistently adding exercise into your weekly routine, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in completing daily activities – for example, getting out of a chair. This is because the muscles required to complete these tasks will be more flexible and thus more capable.

Greater Independence

The decision to start exercising now, regardless of age, will help you build a secure foundation to live the way you want for longer. Regular exercise will allow you to stave off the inevitability of ageing. This means you can maintain your independence and live the way you want for longer. Maintaining fitness through regular activity enables you to perform activities of daily living. Whether it’s cleaning, shopping, or even laundry, by maintaining your health through regular physical activity, you’ll have the strength and stability to continue doing these things to remain independent.

Conclusion

It is never too late to start exercising, and every little bit you do will help. The key is to exercise regularly and consistently. Choose activities you enjoy and start with what you can manage today, set yourself achievable goals, and celebrate your progress.

I hope you enjoyed that.

Talk soon

 

About The Author

James Staring is the founder and lead fitness coach at Fit to Last Personal Trainers, which offers a high-end, all-inclusive fitness solution for those who’ve tried everything in the past; crash diets, exercise fads, regular gyms etc., all with little to no success or results. Fit to Last works in partnership with you to create a personalised programme of exercise, nutrition (no calorie counting or weighing) and small, simple lifestyle changes to keep you on track to your goals, injury free and bursting with energy. See: www.fittolast.co.uk

Web: www.fittolast.co.uk

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fittolast/

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4889622/#CR40

Berk DR, Hubert HB, Fries JF. Associations of changes in exercise level with subsequent disability among seniors: a 16-year longitudinal study. J Gerontol Ser A. 2006;61:97–102. doi: 10.1093/gerona/61.1.97.

Feldman DI, Al-Mallah MH, Keteyian SJ, Brawner CA, Feldman T, Blumenthal RS, Blaha MJ. No evidence of an upper threshold for mortality benefit at high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;65:629–630. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.11.030.

Hamer M, Lavoie KL, Bacon SL. Taking up physical activity in later life and healthy ageing: the English longitudinal study of ageing. Br J Sports Med. 2014;48:239–243. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092993.

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2019/08/exercise-decline-alzheimers

Working with Strong women, I help empower women not to give up on their goals and find true happiness within themselves. #lifestyle #womenempowerment #selfcare

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