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Exercise to suit your lifestyle

Some people think that as you get older it becomes harder and harder to exercise. This may be true if your idea of a workout is taking on the London marathon or scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, but for most of us it should be easy enough to complete the two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week recommended by the NHS.*

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Exercise to suit your lifestyle

In fact, exercise can give you a real boost to help you feel fitter, have more energy and even be more mentally acute.

So here are four types of exercise along with a few simple examples which will suit a variety of different lifestyles:

Cardio vascular (CV) exercises

These are exercises that raise your heart rate and help you develop stamina and endurance.

Swimming is a very popular form of CV exercise for all ages. As well as using all of the body’s major muscles, it doesn’t have the impact on the joints that activities like running and jogging do. It can also be a sociable way to get exercise if you go swimming in a group.

Walking may not seem like a very strenuous way to raise the heart rate, but it does work. Again, this can be a very sociable form of exercise, especially if there’s a rambler’s club in your area. It will also get you outdoors and there are a lot of benefits to this as well.

Cycling is an activity that’s steadily growing in popularity with all ages in this country. You don’t have to be Sir Bradley Wiggins to enjoy the advantages. Just a gentle ride down to the shops will soon help you to get fitter.

Strength exercises

By building up muscle you can increase your strength. This, in turn, can help you to move more easily, react more quickly and it even can mean stronger bones. The first two exercises here are also suitable for people with limited mobility and for wheelchair users.

Loose weights like dumbbells are a great way to build up strength. They’re available from most sports shops and using them regularly can soon have great effects. Start by doing a few repetitions each day and gradually build up the length of your workout.

Resistance bands are strong elastic bands that can be attached to fixed objects like a door knob or a heavy piece of furniture and which you then gently pull using an arm or a leg. Repeated use not only strengthens muscles, but can also increase joint mobility.

Sit ups are still one of the best ways to strengthen your stomach muscles and keep a flat tummy. Simply lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Gradually bend from the waist and raise your torso from the ground until you are at 90o. Then gradually lower your back and repeat. Again, gradually increase the number of repetitions you do each day.

Balance exercises

Improving your sense of balance is a good way of reducing the risk of falls as you get older.

Two practices that can help with this are yoga and Tai chi. There are bound to be organised classes in your area and as part of a regular fitness regime they are a great way to reduce stress and improve relaxation.

Mental exercises

They say that your brain is a muscle and, like all muscles, the more you use it, the stronger it will be.

There are lots of brain games you can play, whether it’s being a member of a pub quiz team or just tackling a daily crossword or Sudoku in the paper.

Electronic brain games for your computer or console are also widely available – a great way to take on the grandchildren and show just how good at video games you can be.

So hopefully there are some suggestions here that you’ll find useful – and if you’re thinking about your health it might be a good idea to consider your health insurance arrangements too. At Saga we have a range of policies available that may be perfect for your needs.


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