Exercise should only be chosen based on ability, not on your age.

June 23, 2022

Ability, not age

What kind of workout should you be performing then? Given that people can differ greatly from one another, recommending training based just on an individual's age is overly simplistic. For instance, I've encountered people who can outrun me on the track as well as elderly 65-year-olds. The selection of exercises should be based on capability. Maintaining a high level of low-intensity movement (such as walking, running, or cycling) is a lifestyle choice associated with longevity. Whatever mode you choose, keep in mind that it should always challenge you. This is an instant positive influence that people may have on their fitness and health, both through the benefits of being active and by offsetting the negative health effects of being sedentary, given that roughly 50% of UK adults don't exceed minimum activity standards. Increased movement alone is a fantastic method to keep your body healthy and fit. For instance, watching TV while standing up during commercial breaks, walking to the store rather than driving, or using the stairs are all excellent strategies to increase exercise. But older adults might benefit similarly from other kinds of exercise. A well-liked kind of aerobic training is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which entails brief bouts of exercise at (or close to) 100 percent effort followed by rest. While HIIT training is frequently believed to only be for individuals who are athletic or youthful, our research demonstrates that HIIT exercise is helpful to overall health for both older males and older men and women who are pre-diabetic. It's important to note that we used stationary bikes for safety reasons because HIIT workouts can make people of all ages feel a little lightheaded. Additionally, there are perceived and actual reductions in older adults' fall risk when HIIT training includes leg balance and strength exercises, as well as cardiovascular improvements.

Every age group should consider resistance training or workouts that demand your maximum strength. Studies show that strength and resistance training improves bone density, muscle mass, and physical ability. Resistance training doesn't necessarily involve heavy weights in a gym, but as a general rule, the movement should be difficult and close to your strength limit if repeated about ten times. Many older people will be able to perform resistance training, and they will also benefit greatly from it. Holding weights, cans, or even a milk bottle can make it tougher to complete chair squats, which involve frequently moving out of a seated posture. By standing up while balancing on one leg, it can become even more difficult. Although older adults are more likely to increase their power and muscle mass through exercise, it does get more difficult to acquire muscle as you age. However, fitness isn't the primary benefit of exercise. Even great athletes who maintain lifelong high levels of training see performance declines as they age. Along with increased bone density and a longer lifespan, exercise has been demonstrated to boost mental health, wellbeing, and cognitive performance. If an older person does fall, their improved bone density from weight lifting may help to minimize injuries.

Any age requires the ability to maintain balance, which is a talent that can be learned. In elderly persons, a better balance may reduce the risk of falling and associated injuries. Yoga and tai chi are two exercises that might help with balance. A fantastic combination of strength and balance workouts are "asymmetric exercises," which entail moving only one side of the body at a time. However, even something as basic as standing on one leg while putting your socks on can challenge your balance. To test and improve balance, do something as easy as standing on one foot while shifting the weight of the other leg back and forth. You can also lift or throw objects with one arm at a time.

In short, the best type of exercise – regardless of your age – has already been outlined by the NHS. Aim to be physically active daily, do activities that improve strength, flexibility, and balance at least two days a week, get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week, and reduce time spent sitting or lying down. And no matter your age or ability, do exercises that continue to challenge you.

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