There are two phrases we hear far too often here at The Reinge Clinic......"You cant make a difference, I'm too old" an "It's old age, there's nothing you can do about it" 😠
I would counter this by saying what a load of rubbish 🙄!
Now, its completely understandable that people think this way. There is a whole generation who were brought up to believe that arthritis, postural issues and reduced mobility were unavoidable and untreatable and it's hard to change a life times view. But things have changed.
We have a society in which we are seeing a growing older population, which in turn has driven unprecedented amounts of serious research into this area.
And that research has consistently shown, just what Therapists have always known. That it does not matter how old you are, the body remains as responsive to exercise and strengthening as it always was 🤔....................😀 .
The human body will adapt to strength training at any age. There are 90 year old weight lifters! There is a whole olympics known as the World Senior Olympics for the over 50's, it was started in 1987 in America. In 2000 a 100 year old person took part in the London Marathon and in the same year 1300 people over age of 60 applied to run. So age is not a limitation.
So what is the best sport for someone starting exercise after the age of 60? Well Swimming is a great place to start. You are fully supported in the water, so even if you have joint issues, swimming is unlikely to cause any problems. 🏊 Swimming is unusual in that is uses almost every muscle in the body, so a great way to start to get some muscle tone.
Cycling is another great sport as it works your balance and core. 🚴 Balance is very important because as you get older falls become more likely. Another great option for balance is Tai Chi. In China, they have many less older people hospitalised due to falls than any other county, this is thought to be down to the use of Tai Chi as part of a morning exercise program practised from an early age by virtually the entire population. In fact this remains the only (semi) westernised country to not need a "falls" program!
Osteoperosis is also a very real problem in the UK in the older generation and weight bearing exercises have been shown to really help with this. As you put impact the body the bone density increases, So walking, strength training with weights, archery, gymnastics, dancing, netball are all great ways to get some forces tugging at those bones to create stronger bones. The worst thing we can do as we age is to get less active.
Finally, Golf is a game often associated with the older person and it is perfectly placed to keep you healthy. 🏌️ If you walk around the course, rather than take the buggy, you will get plenty of cardio fitness as well as weight bearing exercise. Carry the bag of clubs rather than using the trolley and you get a strength training workout too 😀. Then there is the swing of the club; great for flexibility in the spine, core strength and upper body strength, keeping those bones healthy.
So our challenge to you this year, if you are in the older generation, is to give sport a go and see how it makes you feel. 😀