Did you know ageing alone is not a cause of major problems until you are in your mid-90s? And strength, power and muscle mass can be increased, even at this advanced age.
These are claims, backed by research, in an article on staying fit on The Conversation website.
Author, Physiotherapy Associate Professor Julie Broderick, from Dublin’s Trinity College, offers her top exercise tips for over-60s depending on their fitness level. Here’s an extract:
Ageing is when you reap your reward from a lifetime of keeping active. With your healthier metabolic, skeletal, cardiovascular and immune systems you can probably outperform people decades younger.
Advice: Keep up the kettlebells, spin classes, rowing, triathlons or manual work such as gardening – whatever you like to do. You can keep challenging yourself physically. Mix your routine up – a combination of aerobic and resistance work as well as an activity to challenge your balance is ideal.
You are doing well, so keep going. Long-term consistency is the key for benefits. You don’t necessarily have to join a gym, just keep building meaningful physical activity into your day. For example, walk briskly to the shops to get your groceries, keep up gardening and be active around your house. Even repeating simple stair climbing is a great exercise.
If you are suffering from hip or knee pain, walking may be painful, so try cycling or water-based exercise instead.
Complex chronic conditions make it more difficult to exercise. You may need clearance from a doctor to exercise and specialised exercise advice from a physiotherapist or other exercise professional.
If you are experiencing three or more of the following: unplanned weight loss, exhaustion, slowness, weakness of grip and physical inactivity, you may be considered frail, which will leave you vulnerable to even minor health stresses. But it is never too late to build more physical activity into your daily life.
Even reducing time spent sitting and doing a little exercise will have major health benefits, doing any type of activity at all is better than none. Even chair-based exercises or practising sit-to-stand can be a great start.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, keep active, even during treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and during recovery. If you have other common chronic conditions, such as heart or lung disease, keep as active as your condition allows.
Just remember, whatever your state of health, it’s never too late to reap the benefits of being more physically active.