If you’re thinking ahead to your golden years and planning on retiring from anything that doesn’t involve relaxation, then take a minute to think twice about retiring from being active (which actually is often relaxing), because this is an age when activity should be at the top of your list.
Deny it all that we can, but we can’t avoid the fact that our body changes as we age, on the outside and the inside. We get a bit slower, we lose a bit of muscle, our bones become a bit more fragile. If we’re not careful we’ll be labelled as frail, and people won’t let us lift a finger for ourselves.
Fortunately being more active is one of the best ways to prevent this, and can keep us feeling younger for longer:
It Keeps Us Fitter
The most obvious benefit of being active that we all probably know is that it keeps us physically fit. Not only is this good for us in terms of being able to answer the door and walk to the corner shop without getting out of breath, but it’s good for our body too. Numerous studies support the survival of the fittest, showing that the more physically fit you are the longer you’re likely to live.
We Keep Our Muscles
As we age it’s not uncommon for bits of our muscles to waste away, and overtime this can make us weaker. An obvious way to counteract this is to make sure we use what muscles we have on a regular basis, whether that be from walking or lifting weights, to make sure that we keep them from wasting away.
It Keeps Us Strong
When we’re active, especially when its a resistance based activity like something as simple as doing a push up against the wall, it keeps our muscles engaged and strong. This means we’ll find it easier to do everyday activities that involve some degree of strength like carrying the shopping bags, walking up the stairs, and putting tins of beans in the cupboard.
It Keeps Us Functional
If we can achieve the above 3 benefits, then we’re really likely to live a more functional and independent life, being able to do what we want to do without relying on others for help. Something as simple as being able to get changed and walk around the house unaided are things that we take for granted, and being able to do them is a huge contributor to our quality of life.
That was 4 simple reasons to get up and get moving. Being active doesn’t require a gym membership, expensive shoes, or exhaustion. You can realise these benefits from something as simple as going for a walk, playing bowls, or looking after the garden.
Faye Prior (Researcher)
Cadore et al., (2014). Strength and Endurance Training Prescription in Healthy and Frail Elderly. Ageing and Disease, 5, 183-95.