January 25, 2017

Getting older is inevitable, but it’s no reason to sit back and allow the ageing process to occur more quickly than necessary. It’s not uncommon to hear women say things like “I hate exercise”, especially as they get older, but what they mean is that their past experiences of exercise have not been positive. Exercise can take all manner of form, so the key is to start gradually and find the type of exercise that works best for you.

Why is it so important?

A recent study into telomeres and ageing found that low physical activity seemed to account for an 8-year biological age gap between those who exercised and those who did not.

A sedentary lifestyle accelerates ageing, reduces the body’s ability to manage daily activities, and can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. We’re all getting older, but let’s not make it happen more quickly, and let’s not think “It’s too late, I’m too old.” There’s no shortage of stories about older people participating in exercise, like this lady.

The great thing about exercise is that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. If the only exercise you currently get is walking from room to room in your house, you can start with a walk to the letterbox. Gradually increase that to a walk to the corner of your street and back. Then around the block. See how easy that can be?

You might want to improve your strength and balance. The Healthy Inspirations circuit is perfect as the equipment is easily adjusted and supports your body. Our coaches will help get you started, and it may be that you only do two or three exercises at first, gradually building up as your fitness improves.

Enid is an active participant at the Healthy Inspirations centre in Blackwood, SA. In her words:

“I am 89 years old. About 15 years ago, I had a hysterectomy and repair to a prolapse, and had limited health and mobility since. I had a spinal operation to reduce pressure on the spinal cord, followed by two hip replacements, and one knee replacement. Prolapse has been a constant problem with several repairs.

Meanwhile my husband’s health declined. Her suffered from depression, which made him angry and abusive. Gradually he was losing sight, hearing, balance, memory and reason. He needed a lot of care and attention. I consoled myself with food, and was unfit and overweight.

After I was widowed, 4 years ago, I enrolled in a Strength for Life programme at Blackwood Gym. That was crowded, noisy, some classes were upstairs – difficult for me – and parking was often difficult.

So I came to Healthy Inspirations. I can cope with the exercises available. I have been welcomed and encouraged by staff and members. I really appreciate the encouragement I receive. It is noted if I behave unwisely, but not condemned. There are suggestions as to how I might cope better.

There has been some interruption and hospital treatment, but I’ve been welcomed back. I’ve lost weight, improved fitness, and my own sense of worth. I find other younger members friendly and supportive.”