Those of you that read this blog are most likely already playing sport, keeping active and so, hopefully, staying healthy. However, I read this article on our physiotherapy website and thought it would be good advice that you could pass on to your less active friends.
I hope you find it useful…
“Keeping active as we get older is vital if we are to remain healthy and independent.
Use it or lose it, so the saying goes.
Your body changes as you grow older and it’s vital to keep active if you want to stay healthy and independent. Otherwise, much of what you enjoy – perhaps gardening, playing golf or simply getting out and about – becomes that much harder.
Bones and muscles
Over the years, bones tend to lose their density, making them more prone to injury, particularly if the bone-thinning condition called osteoporosis develops. Muscles might also lose some of their strength and flexibility, which could lead to problems with moving about, and particularly with balance. But the good news is that by following some simple, healthy living advice about exercise and diet you can help keep your bones, joints and muscles strong and healthy.
As you age, your heart rate might slow or your heart could become enlarged, making it harder for it to function well. At the same time, changes to blood vessels can lead to raised blood pressure and other conditions. Again, by keeping active and eating a healthy nutritious diet, low in salt and saturated fat, you can help to avoid, or at least minimise, these problems – and continue to lead a full independent life into older age.
It’s important to avoid being overweight at any age. As you grow older though, changes in the way your body deals with food, together with a less active lifestyle, might make weight gain more likely. This can place extra strain on your bones, muscles and heart and could also put you at risk of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes. By keeping physically active and following a low-fat diet, however, you can lose weight if you need to and also ensure that you stay fit and in good shape.
How can I help myself?
Fortunately, one of the most important things you can do is also one of the simplest: make regular physical activity part of your daily routine. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight. It promotes strong bones and muscles and flexible joints. It also lowers your blood pressure and helps keep your arteries in good shape, contributing to a healthy heart and good circulation.
And the benefits are not just physical: keeping active also helps to combat anxiety, depression and isolation, particularly activities that involve other people, such as dancing, golf or bowls. Exercise helps you sleep, and also keeps the brain more alert – all necessary for the processes that your body has to deal with day to day, such as healing, learning and using your memory.
Physiotherapy can help you to deal with many of the problems you might experience as time goes on.”
You can be referred to a physiotherapist by your GP. If you have an existing medical condition that may affect your ability to exercise, it is always better to get advice form an appropriate health care professional such as a physiotherapist.