No matter what your age, it is never too late too start exercising says Fit For Work Physiotherapist Ellen Smoothy.
There are a number of benefits to keeping up exercise as you age including maintaining or losing weight, reducing the impact of illness, and improving sleep. However, one of the biggest positives is the increased likelihood of being injury free and therefore maintaining employment.
“As we get older it is not uncommon for people to slow down on their physical activity. However, the best way people can sustain employment and work longer into their 50s, 60s and 70s, is to keep moving”.
Ellen recommends that people do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, four to five times a week. Whether it be going for a brisk walk, biking or swimming, activity needs to increase your breathing rate. Up hill walking is a great exercise, once you develop some tolerance of flat walking.
One of Ellen’s favourite quotes that she regularly tells her clients is, “if you’re going to maintain the ability to work, you have to play harder than you work”.
“People need to get their heart rate up and exercise at a level where they can still talk with a friend, but only in short phrases”.
Just keep swimming
For people who are beginning their exercise journey, Ellen suggests starting with aqua jogging or swimming.
“Getting into the water is the perfect way to get people moving. It’s a safer environment with less risk of injury and if you’re using a local pool, you don’t need to rely on the weather,” Ellen says.
Join a sports team
One of the reasons people give up on exercise is because there is no social element. It can be very lonely trying to use a home exercycle or treadmill. Getting together with a group of friends and creating a walking group, or a touch, netball or football team is a great way to keep moving and spend time with your friends.
Get the technique right
One of the most important ways to prevent injuries is to ensure you’re doing your job correctly. Posture and movement patterns are large predictors of injury and if not done correctly can make you more susceptible to injury as you age.
“Getting the technique right is crucial to prevent injuries. I’ve seen everything from cleaners not cleaning the bath properly to supermarket workers not picking up boxes correctly. Whatever it is, learn to do it right,” Ellen says.