The benefits of exercise as you get older

The most commonly made New Year’s resolutions are to get more exercise and to eat healthier.

As one grows older it can be all too easy to fall prey to a lazy spell when you’re too busy doing everything else, besides looking after yourself.

The Northcliff Melville Times spoke to fitness teacher for 20 years, Marguerite Swan who spoke on why it was important to adopt an exercise routine as you get older.

Swan, whose fitness classes are based in Robin Hills, explained that a healthy lifestyle meant getting some form of exercise and eating sensibly.

“This way, one is able to keep mobile, be less reliant on others and maintain a healthy body weight, as being overweight puts unnecessary pressure on joints,” she said, adding should you suffer from pain in particular body parts, it was not a good idea to exercise that part.

It is important to adopt an exercise routine as you get older.

She added that as one got older, things started to happen to the body such as the shortening of muscles, losing muscle mass, shortness of breath and sometimes high blood pressure.

“There are many benefits to exercising such as an overall feeling of mood and well-being, improved functionality, especially of the lungs and heart.

Also, exercise can lower the resting heart rate, better the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells, help with sleep, stave off high blood pressure and perhaps obesity.”

Swan, who is a qualified fitness instructor, said through group exercises one built up a social support network as it was easy to become isolated if living alone.

Exercise can restore body function by building muscle strength, confidence and balance, and be part of a healing process where perhaps depression and isolation existed.

Women enjoy a morning session of exercise led by Marguerite Swan.

By not being sedentary and strengthening certain muscles especially the quadriceps and gluteus muscles, it makes it easier to stand from a sitting position and also getting on and off the toilet.

“Ideally, exercise should be taken a few times a week but allow for some rest days.”

She also is of the mind that it is never too late to start exercising.

“But start gently and gradually build up, exercise is important and not just for seniors.”

ALSO READ: A fitter…healthier, and better you

Neo Phashe

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