You are never too old to start exercising, improve your health and discover a love for fitness! In fact, at Gym Plus we have seen many times how older adults, who have become active in later life, develop greater physical and mental improvements in a shorter time than younger adults.
Why do we slow down with age?
Understandably there are many reasons why we tend to slow down and become less active with age. For some, it can be to do with a health condition, an injury, weight or concerns about the ability to perform the exercise. However, as we age it is more important than ever before to maintain an active lifestyle.
Being physically active has been proven to add years to your life and it can also help boost your energy, reduce the risk of injury, build bone density, help manage your weight and protect your heart and brain health. Furthermore, it can help make everyday tasks easier and help older people live independently for longer.
Here we take a look at why exercise is vital for your heart and brain health. As well as the best exercises to do to protect both…..
What’s good for the heart, is good for the brain
Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and the risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
As you exercise your heart muscle becomes more efficient and better able to pump blood around the body. And with the body pushing out more blood, it allows the heartbeat to slow, keeping blood pressure under control.
And believe it or not, even a single bout of exercise starts to protect your heart right away. Sound too good to be true? Well according to the JAMA Cardiology review, this process is called ischemic preconditioning. And a single exercise session may protect the cardiovascular system to two to three hours.
Similarly, aerobic exercise (cardio) increases blood flow to the brain. Which in turn delivers more oxygen to the brain leading to neurogenesis – or the production on of more neurons- that control memory and thinking. It can also help foster new brain cell growth and preserve existing brain cells.
Furthermore, performing regular aerobic and resistance training exercises (bodyweight or weights) is beneficial to cognitive function in adults aged over 50. Specifically, it has been shown to help counteract the effects of dementia.
How long should you exercise for every day?
Medical and fitness professionals agree, that 30 minutes a day is the recommended duration to exercise in order to achieve maximum protection for your heart and brain. This can be broken up into 10-minute intervals however it needs to be the type of activity that increases the heart rate and circulation in the body. In other words, moderate to vigorous intensity.
Types of exercises for heart and brain health
A study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health showed that those who participated in the following types of exercises had significantly lowered their odds of developing cardiovascular disease:
- racquet sports
- aerobic exercise
- running and
However, if you are returning to exercise after a long break or are concerned about an existing injury try indoor cycling or swimming first. These exercises will help you get a good cardio workout while limiting the impact on the joints.
Love exercise at Gym Plus
At Gym Plus we work with members of all fitness levels and abilities to help them stay active as they age. We have a fantastic selection of classes suitable for all ages and a friendly, welcoming fitness team ready to work with you to achieve your fitness goals.
You will meet with a member of the fitness team regularly, who will design a personalised health and fitness plan for you. In addition, in order to accurately measure your health, you have full use of the professional Tanita body composition scales. This measures your weight, body fat %, BMI, metabolic age and bone density and helps you keep track of your progress.
And your results are all contained within the My Body section on the handy FitSense app that is free to use for all members. Even better, the app also allows you to earn reward points every time you check into the club or to a class. So you will easily learn to love exercise at Gym Plus.
There has never been a better time to join Gym Plus. So if you are eager to stay active and would like to see how we can help you, why not download a free guest pass HERE.