IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO START? 

Ibelieve it’s never too late to start exercising. The positives are huge for the over 60s, there are diverse improvements ranging from increases in strength and flexibility to improvements in circulation and bone density. I run a variety of exercise classes and have many people over sixty involved. I encourage everyone of all ages and levels to go at their own pace and enjoy themselves whilst doing it. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

There are a wide range of classes, as close as your local leisure centre or village hall. Gyms aren’t for everyone but this doesn’t mean there aren’t many other ways to exercise.

It’s a great time to try new things and find out what works best for you. Classes are great because you can go along on your own or take a friend for support. Start with a beginners’ class and let the teacher know you’re new to exercise so they can help, encourage and get you on the right track safely and effectively. Exercising with others is proven to be the most effective way to maintain a routine and encouragement plays an important role. 

HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK?

Iwould suggest a minimum of two sessions a week to get results. Start out gently and build up gradually so you improve consistently and prevent injury. Space the classes a couple of days apart so your body gets a chance to recover between sessions. Try to fit in some regular cardiovascular exercise between classes such as walking or swimming.

As your fitness improves you’ll notice that you have more energy and confidence and are more active in everyday tasks.

WHAT BENEFITS CAN I EXPECT TO SEE FROM EXERCISING?

Regular exercise will tone your body, increase your metabolism and make you feel great on the inside and outside. It also has many benefits for your health and wellbeing in general: research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The best medicine you can give your body and mind is a regular exercise routine, even one that just involves walking and moving more.

MOTIVATION

Getting started with exercise is one thing, keeping it up is another. I advise my clients to set short term goals that are easy to stick to.  People are motivated when they start but without goals they find it difficult. Planning sessions ahead in your diary is a great motivator. Teaming up with someone in your class or a friend can also help enormously. Fun is the name of the game. If you dread going along to your class it’s time to change and try something new. Make a list of all of the classes/activities you would like to try and give them a go.

Some great things to try for beginners are:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Zumba
  • Tai Chi
  • Ballet Barre
  • Water Fitness
  • Walking groups
  • Ballroom dance classes
Sarah Maxwell is a professional PT and group exercise instructor based in Cranbrook. She is HAB personal trainer of the year. Visit sarahmaxwell.co.uk or call 07973 233668.

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