You’re never too old to do some exercise to boost both your physical and mental health. While you might need to modify your exercise program as you get older, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun doing it. And a great way to do that is to find yourself an exercise buddy.
The benefits of having an exercise buddy
Various studies have shown the benefits of having an exercise buddy, including:
- having more fun
- making new friends
- helping to keep each other committed to your exercise routine
- motivating each other to do more
- saving money if you hire a personal trainer and split the cost.
- being safer because you can keep an eye on each other.
And you don’t have to limit yourself to just one exercise buddy. Why not get a group together, or join a group class that has regular workout times?
The benefits of exercising when you’re over 50 (or 60, or...)
You’ve probably heard the saying “use it or lose it”. It certainly applies to your physical fitness and strength as you get older. Appropriate and regular exercise can provide you with the following physical health benefits:
- increased cardiovascular fitness
- increased or maintained strength
- reduced risk of falls
- reduced muscle/joint pain or stiffness
- increased energy levels
- increased mobility
- help with maintaining or reaching a healthy weight.
It can also provide you with the following mental health benefits:
- improved sleep
- increased social interaction if you exercise with a buddy or a group
- improved mood/reduced anxiety (because exercise releases a feel good’ hormones called endorphins)
- improved concentration.
All of these physical and mental health benefits can help to reduce your risk of developing health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and joint or bone problems.
Unfortunately, the latest stats show that nearly 60% of older Australians aren’t doing enough exercise.
How much exercise should you do as you get older?
This depends on your age and general fitness/mobility level. Make sure you check-in with your GP before starting any exercise program, and ask for advice from a trainer who is experienced in helping older Australians.
If you get the all clear from your GP, the Department of Health and Aged Care has the following guidelines:
Make time for 2.5 to 5 hours of “moderately intense physical activity” weekly, if you are aged between 50 and 64 (such as brisk walking, playing golf, swimming, aqua aerobics or hydrotherapy).
Ideally, you should do some physical activity each day, and include muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days per week (such as swimming, lifting light weights or doing some push-ups).
Make an effort to complete at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each day if you are over 65, such as some or all of the activities listed above. But if you haven’t exercised in a while, start with a lower amount of time each day.
Some exercise is better than none, and you can always increase your time as your fitness, strength and confidence levels improve. Set yourself some simple goals to start with. Then make them more challenging as you tick them off.
You can also do some online research for exercise ideas and video demonstrations of correct exercise techniques.
How we can help
Check out more of our tips on the Downsizing health and welfare pages.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to live with more like-minded people your own age, why not check out our range of retirement villages and land lease communities across Australia. Many have great on-site or nearby exercise facilities, such as pools, tennis courts, gyms, bowling greens and golf courses. Both buying and leasing options are available. Happy exercising!