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Live Life Well

It’s never too late to start exercising

Increasing your levels of activity in your 40s and 50s can be just as beneficial to your health – in terms of boosting life expectancy – as being a lifelong exerciser. But why, what activities should you do, and how often?

A recent study has thrown fascinating new light on the value of being active as you get older.

For those who haven’t yet come across this research, a quick summary of the key findings:

1. If you start exercising later in life – even if it isn’t until your 50s – you reduce your risk of early death just as much as people who have exercised their whole lives.

2. Even if you’ve exercised throughout your teens, 20s and 30s, don’t start taking it easy as you get older, because your life expectancy will start to drop again.

The clear message: we need to get, and remain, active if we want to keep our life expectancy high.

The exercise prescription
The overall conclusions and advice based on this study are clear:

1. Being active is great for our health

Where do we start? The list of health benefits is seemingly never-ending, but just as a taster, research shows regular physical activity has a positive impact on a large number of commonly occurring chronic diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes and insomnia, not to mention helping prevent a number of forms of cancer.

It also has a proven role in preventing cognitive decline: research suggests it can cut the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in half, pushing back cognitive decline by as much as 10–15 years.

And if that isn’t enough, new research even suggests exercise can help slow the way our body ages at a cellular level – by up to nine years – helping you not just feel but actually look younger. Read more on the article 'The secret to staying young' »

2. We need to stay active as we age, establishing a lifelong habit

Of course, what we can expect of our body will naturally decline as we get older – but given the huge impact physical activity has on our long-term mental and physical health, it’s important that we don’t simply shrug our shoulders and resign ourselves to a dramatic decline in our fitness levels as soon as we pass a certain age.

So, what’s the fitness norm for each age group – and do you meet it? Just how fit should you be at any given age to maximise your chances of good health? Find out if you are fit for your age here »

3. We should aim for around an hour a day, but anything we do is better than being inactive

In fact, did you know that as little as one hour of exercise – not even every day, but every week – can offer “significant protection” against depression?

This is the conclusion of an Australian research team – and they weren’t just talking about happy hormones after a workout. They found evidence that even small amounts of exercise can have a lasting impact on our mental state.

Specifically, people who reported doing no exercise had a 44 per cent higher chance of developing depression than those who were exercising one to two hours a week. The study concluded that 12 per cent of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants had taken part in just one hour of physical activity each week.

4. It’s never too late to start!

Aspria’s expert team is fully trained when it comes to exercise, with plenty of activities on offer whatever your levels of fitness or mobility.

All activities have been designed to accommodate the common issues associated with age; we also take into account the clinical history, lifestyle and daily routine of everyone who takes part.

Sessions focus on functional movements that train the body to comfortably perform everyday movements and activities: carrying shopping, bending down, walking upstairs or down the street, interacting with grandchildren and so on.

They improve balance, stability and agility, reducing the risk of falling. They help you move in a painless, effortless, comfortable and safe way. And they give you the independence to go about your daily life without worry.

Try our classes, or ask a wellbeing advisor for a personalised wellbeing programme next time you’re at the club.

Find out more about Aspria membership here.

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