The 4 most important types of exercise we should do to stay healthy in mind and body.
1. Strength training
One of the unfortunate facts of life is that we age and with that in mind we lose muscle mass too. With strength training, we are able to help build it back. Strengthening your muscles will not only make you stronger but also helps stimulate bone growth, improves balance and posture, lowers blood sugar, assists with weight control and reduces stress. You don’t have to take out those expensive gym contracts to get your hands on weights. Here are some simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Body weight exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges, planking and activities involving resistance bands.
2. Aerobic exercise
An exercise which speeds up your heart rate and breathing is vital for many body functions. It gives your heart and lungs a workout and increases endurance. Aerobic exercise also helps relax blood vessel walls, lower blood pressure, burn body fat, lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, boost mood. Over the long term, aerobic exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer even known to help with depression.
For the mature folk out there try brisk walking or dancing and for the rest of us try swimming, jogging, cycling, or classes like spinning.
This is one exercise we all neglect, take it from the horse’s mouth! Stretching can help maintain flexibility. Again I come back to this subject of “Ageing”. Ageing leads to a loss of flexibility in the muscles and tendons. That can have a risk of muscle cramps and pain, muscle damage, strains and joint pain. By getting into a routine of doing stretching exercises 3-4 time a week can increase your range of motion and reduces pain and the risk for injury.
Never bounce through a stretch or stretch when your muscles are cold, as it could put you at risk of tearing muscle or tendons. The correct way is to warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favourite exercise at low intensity for a couple of minutes. Perform a static stretch, by holding the position for up to 60 seconds for the calves, the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, and any muscle that you feel would benefit from a stretch.
4. Balance exercises
Having the right balance is essential for many activities we do every day, such as walking and going up and down the stairs, bending down to pick up a small child or even tie your shoes. Increasing the strength of the core muscles can help improve your balance and coordination and ability to react to sudden changes of direction, both of which can help reduce the risk of an accidental fall.
Exercises that improve balance can help prevent falls which is a common problem in older adults. Some simple balance exercises you can do in the comfort of your homes such as standing on one foot or walking heel to toe, with your eyes open or closed or if you prefer balanced-focused exercise classes, such as tai chi or yoga can be very beneficial to the body and mind.
Health benefits from Exercise.......
Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems evident that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.
It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
- Up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
- Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer.
- Up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer.
- A 30% lower risk of early death.
- Up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis.
- Up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture.
- A 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults.)
- Up to a 30% lower risk of depression.
- Up to a 30% lower risk of dementia.