AGE and exercise, so much confusion and so many excuses to use. So many people feel that as you get older youhave more excuses to move less. The reality is that as you age you need to keep moving. Exercise will help to keep you healthy, keep you living longer and keep you happy.
Arthritis? Exercise will help. Back problems? Exercise is the best cure. Blood pressure, cholesterol? You guessed it...
We know that the fitter you are the healthier you are, no matter what age.
The lower your resting heart rate, a simple and easy fitness marker, the healthier you are.
What's yours? Take your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply that by four, this gives you a guide. For 95pc of the population, the lower the better – unless you are born with a naturally low heart rate.
It's best to take your resting heart rate in the morning before you get out of bed, this is a better estimate. Aim for below 70, below 60 if you are fit and below 50 if you are very fit. If this is above 90 I would recommend going to your GP for a check-up just to be safe. Now that you realise the importance of being fit, I want to give you some more information on what actually happens with age.
This is when your metabolism is at its peak so you should be in the best shape of your life – if your diet and exercise are good. If they are not, however, you may find that you are developing cellulite or man boobs. Your body is extremely efficient and you aren't too concerned by your weight.
This is when your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) begins to slow down, causing reduced muscle mass and increased fat content on your body.
For most people their working life has taken over, placing more stress on their time and before you know it, the middle-age spread kicks in – that lip of fat around your midsection that was never there before. Suddenly, you will begin to be more affected by moods as stress begins to affect you. For women, the effects of PMS generally become more severe.
Having peaked in your mid-30s, your bone density is now beginning to decrease steadily. This affects the strength of your bones and their ability to recover from breaks and fractures.
Your aerobic system begins to decline and we know how important that resting heart rate is.
You will have roughly 30pc less muscle strength than you did in your 20s and your flexibility will decrease too, making your body less supple and placing increased pressure on your back.
Aches and pains start to develop where they weren't there before.
This is especially true the more sedentary you are!
Women will have, on average, 20pc less aerobic capacity than they did in their 20s. Bone density is on the decrease, especially among women, as reduced oestrogen levels cause calcium to leak out of the bones.
You can lose up to 5pc of your bone density every year for up to seven years after menopause, making your body and bones weaker, and it will take longer to recover from breaks and falls.
Suddenly, conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis – from which over 400,000 people suffer – could start to develop in your hands, feet, knees or hips. Not good.
This gets worse when combined with lack of activity as your muscle mass decreases, making your muscles weaker and reducing their ability to support the body.
For me, this is one of the crucial times to get moving, they are all critical but especially in your 50s.
Your metabolism slows down yet again, I am afraid. This means that you burn fewer calories during the day.
Your skin ages as the skin cells hold less water, you will have reduced muscle tone and muscle strength.
You will also find that you will tire easily and be more affected by the weather which, in many respects, is due to your metabolism slowing down.
But don't fret – all of the above can be improved vastly with more movement in your day.