Over 50s who believe a gentle stroll a few times a week is all they need to maintain good health might be surprised to hear a recent study is urging them to crank up the intensity and the volume. While adopting healthy habits needs to be part of the plan, it could be that a solid exercise program is also needed, rather than simply a generally active lifestyle.
The Queensland University of Technology gathered a variety of health and exercise research focusing on women aged 50 plus, looking at the impact exercise has on the mind and body. The studies were taken from a five year period.
The researchers concluded that the over 50s, while being recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, could very well benefit far more from more vigorous and intense activities of over 30-45 minutes five times a week.
Is walking enough?
While a brisk stroll, or a gentle meander for that matter, can leave you feeling looser, less achy and more refreshed, is it enough? What's certain is that if you exercise at all then you are promoting a longer life and a healthier one too, as nobody wants to age with health concerns plaguing their golden years, especially as it is avoidable.
Change your mind as well as your exercise plan
Age affects people differently, not only physically, but mentally too. While women in their 50s and 60s can hardly be considered senior, the fact is that society often labels women over 50 as past their prime and this dismissive attitude easily filters into the mindset of more mature women. In other words, how you view your age can have a great impact on your activity levels. The mind can be a great enabler but it can also hold you back. If all you think you are capable of or all you think you should be doing at a certain age is ambling along then that's exactly what you will do. You might need to change your ideas and change this mindset first before you change your fitness plan.
Work up a sweat
Those that can't remember the last time they worked up a sweat might want to think about stepping up the exercise pace. Moderate to vigorous exercise intensity means that you might find it difficult to sustain a conversation while you are moving. Instead, you are going to be focusing on your breathing as your heart rate rises.
Go beyond walking
However, if the thought of an aerobic class fills you with dread than you might want to explore what else is out there. There are many women over 50 involved in lots of different types of fitness, whether they have kept up a regime since their younger days or whether they have come back to exercise more recently. Really look at what you enjoy and what type of workout environment suits you. You could set goals and get into the habit of focusing on fitness beyond going for walks.
Once you set off on a more intense fitness journey you may start to feel more energized and younger too. Whatever your age, we have an exercise pact for you.