Winter is gone which means now is the time to dust off your exercise gear and hit the ground running (literally). In fact, it’s also the perfect time of the year to kick-off a new fitness regime if you haven't been the fitness-fanatic type before. But, are all forms of exercise created equal?
Now that the weather has started to warm up and being outdoors is appealing again, it’s time to shake of the winter hibernation and re-focus on your fitness – which won’t just help you feel great physically, but mentally, too. Regular exercise has been shown to positively and profoundly impact your mental health – relieving stress, improving your memory and boosting your overall mood. So, whether it’s been months or days since your last workout, or even if you are a newbie to lycra, there’s no time like the present to spring back into wellness. But what are the best exercises to try if you’re finding your feet after a long, cold winter?
“The number one rule is making sure you don’t do too much, too soon,” says Justin Lin, musculoskeletal therapist and principal of the Brisbane Spine Clinic. “Don’t expect to be able to deadlift 200kg – not straight away, at least! – and instead, focus on whole-body exercises in a relaxing environment. If you’re out of practice or brand new to fitness, Justin recommends the following exercises to build your strength, balance and cardiovascular fitness.
Aqua aerobics and swimming
“Hydrotherapy and other exercise in warm water will help your muscles to relax completely, while also improving your fitness and your balance – which is particularly important for falls prevention,” says Justin. Once you have built up your tolerance and exercise capacity, Justin recommends looking at other land-based exercises that focus on cardiovascular and resistance training. Aqua aerobics classes are held on Tuesdays at ??? here at Palm Lake Resort Caloundra Cay ((insert details here)).
Yoga, tai-chi and Pilates
Justin also recommends focusing on exercises that improve your flexibility if you’re getting back into exercise after a long break. They may also help improve your core stability, which helps you protect your spine. Join in a yoga class on Thursdays at ??? and/or Pilates on Mondays at ??? ((insert details here)).
Lawn bowls and tenpin bowls
“The social component of bowls makes it ideal for anyone who is just starting to exercise,” says Justin. “Social interaction has been proven to improve your compliance with exercise, encouraging you to keep at it.” Bowls is also a safe form of exercise that will help with your balance and coordination. Palm Lake Resort Caloundra Cay’s Bowls Club ((insert details here))
“Power walking can help you challenge your heart rate and push you beyond what you are comfortable with, which will greatly improve your fitness,” says Justin. You can certainly power walk with your dog, however, Justin warns against this if your dog is too strong for you as excessive pulling may cause a shoulder injury. Hit the gym
Don’t be afraid of weights and resistance training – Justin says that it is important for bone density amongst over-55s, particularly women. Palm Lake Resort Caloundra Cay’s Milon gymnasium is the perfect destination. You can also slowly graduate to working out on the stationary bike or seated rowing machine.
“While golf is very popular, it can be a double-edged sword if you haven’t mastered the technique,” Justin says. “If you have been coached about your form, golf can be a really good exercise as it trains your core stability and improves your general mobility.” Not to mention, carrying your golf bag and walking between holes helping with your cardiovascular fitness.“We often find that patients can become fearful to exercise in their retirement, particularly if they have degeneration in their joints,” says Justin. “But the thing with our body is, if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you maintain good muscle function, you may even hold off a joint replacement and other kinds of surgery for a number of years. “Do things in moderation but, if you have ongoing, persistent pain that lasts longer than a week or two, consider seeing a doctor or physiotherapist. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to keep up with regular exercise – the positive effects are amazing.”
Health stats and tips
According to Professor Ken Nosaka of Edith Cowan University:
- From age 65, our strength decreases by 1-2 per cent each year.
- Recommended exercise for over 65s is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per day, five days per week, as well as vigorous aerobic exercise for 20 minutes per day, two days per week.
- A 2014 study showed that 44.7 per cent of over 65s did not achieve 30 minutes daily exercise
- Exercises such as swimming or walking will maintain muscle strength, but will not improve it. Over 65s must be doing resistance training.
- Regular resistance training can increase muscle strength by up to 30 per cent in just six months, counteracting 15 years of muscle loss
- Doing 10 eccentric exercises per day (eccentric exercise is slow and long moving muscle contraction) can extend lifespan by up to 10 years.
- You can incorporate eccentric training into your home routine eg. slowly sit down at dining table or slowly walk down stairs.
- Good nutrition and rest is important. Avoid long periods of sitting.
- Milon machines have eccentric and concentric exercise capabilities.
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