Exercise and Fitness in Retirement!

You’ve reached 60 and you’re aware that you should be exercising more, but unsure of how to take the first step. Perhaps it’s been a long time since you last worked out? Perhaps it’s completely new to you and you’re a little apprehensive about entering the unknown? Then there’s the question of long you should work out for. The good news is, you needn’t worry. It’s a lot easier and more achievable than you think to up your activity levels and begin your new health and fitness journey; no matter how many years you have in the locker!

What’s more, with so many benefits, both physically and mentally, to be gained from enjoying regular exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle, you’ll be fighting the effects of ageing. Keeping active is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes, prevent cancer and diabetes as well as osteoporosis and even Alzheimer’s. Whether you’re a seasoned fitness pro or brand new to exercise, there’s never been a better time to get moving. And you’ll be pleased to know that ‘Fitness Programs for Older Adults’ was ranked at number four in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2019, which means that gyms are recognising the need to offer more in this area.

Unfortunately, it seems the older we get the less active we become – according to figures from the Department of Health, only 40% of men and just 28% of women achieve the recommended level of physical activity per week. The over 70s age group fares even worse; shockingly, research has highlighted that 44% of adults within this age category take a 20-minute walk less than once a year!

With exercise being the secret to a happy and healthy life, we’re going to take a look at just how much you need to do to make a difference to your health and wellness – you could be pleasantly surprised!

The Target

To start with, everyone’s targets will differ slightly depending on your current fitness and physical activity levels, but slow and steady wins the race here and any lifestyle changes should be introduced gradually over time to reap the benefits. At Smartfit35, we try to make this as simple as possible by providing you with a personalised fitness programme tailored to your goals, as well as individual support from our coaches during our sessions to ensure you’re taken care of every step of the way. Not only that, our smart equipment, thanks to its user recognition system which we set up for all our clients, automatically adjusts to your size, training motive and needs for a simple, effective and enjoyable workout that comes together seamlessly.

If you are starting from scratch, your main target should simply be to move more! Any amount of physical activity is an improvement on none, and your body will need time to adjust to the increase. Start with a simple walk around your neighbourhood, getting off the bus one stop earlier or taking the stairs instead of a lift – all these changes soon add up. Although the sessions at Smart35 last for 35 minutes, we can structure them around your fitness level, so that you can take them at your own pace and enjoy improving your fitness in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

Once you’ve got used to the increase in activity and you feel comfortable doing so, you can look at turning up the tempo and extending your periods of activity, working towards meeting more specific exercise targets.

In terms of the weekly amount of physical activity you should be doing, the Government recommends 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (breathing fast with difficulty talking) or 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (increased breathing but able to talk) or a combination of both. But don’t let this scare you… Even if you decide to aim for 150 minutes per week, this roughly works out at just 20 minutes of physical activity per day, or four 35-minute SmartFit35 sessions. Put simply – anything that gets your heart pumping and you slightly out of breath is going to make a difference to your overall health and well-being so think walking, swimming, cycling, tennis, jogging, dancing – even gardening is a great form of activity

It is also advised that resistance training is carried out twice a week to build muscle strength. At SmartFit35, our circuit offers you a whole body work out – using resistance techniques to exercise all your muscle groups in just 35 minutes using our circuit. It’s not the quantity of time spent that matters, but the quality of the exercise. Besides heading to the gym, there other simple ways for you to increase muscle strength, including lifting light weights or shopping bags, attending a yoga or pilates class, or digging in the garden; all great ways to smash those exercise targets!

Strength exercises can also be broken down into a few sessions throughout the day.   These so-called ‘micro-workouts’ are brilliant at improving heart health, endurance, and burning fat.

Achieving these targets doesn’t always have to be through formal exercise though and can easily be achieved without making a conscious effort to exercise at all – don’t underestimate what a wonderful workout cleaning the house, walking the dog or playing with the grandchildren can be!

Get Motivated

With studies showing improvements in balance, strength, posture, blood pressure, endurance, bone density and life expectancy as a result of regular physical activity, there’s never been a better reason to get active. However, it can quite often be all too easy to put up ‘barriers’ when it comes to exercising such as aches and pains, a lack of time and energy, or reluctance to join a new gym, but addressing these ‘barriers’, stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new could be the best thing you ever did and drastically improve your quality of life.

The brilliant thing about exercise is it’s never too late to improve your health and fitness, whether you’re 60 or beyond! Inactive people can make huge gains and fast with just a few small changes to their lifestyle. With so many forms of exercise to choose from, you’re bound to find one to suit you. Whatever you choose, whether it’s our highly effective 35-minute circuits or a new weekly running routine, it’s important that you enjoy it to ensure you stick to your new lifestyle change. If you struggle with motivation, enlisting the help of a friend as your exercise buddy, or the support of a SmartFit35 coach, will not only keep you on track, but will ensure you have great fun along the way.

If you’re now feeling more determined than ever to get back on the exercise bus, or board it for the first time, why not give Smartfit35’s 7-day trial a go? We’re sure you’ll love it and will be hooked on a healthier and more active lifestyle before you know it. See what other people have to say by watching some of our testimonials or click here to make an appointment at your local SmartFit35 centre.