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Ageing is an inevitable part of life. But how many of us are ageing actively? By this I mean, how many of us remain active, or even increase our activity levels as we age?

Our body’s tissues, of which muscles can be the most noticeable to us, change and loose tone and strength as we age. This is usually due to lack of movement.

We live in a society where we are not required to move much at all, so we get into a habit of not moving, and adopt a sedentary lifestyle. We believe that a decline in movement is related to ageing. However, many of us have spent our adult lives not moving, and we rarely consider the transformative effects activity and movement can have on our life, including ageing.

Much research has been done on the protective effects exercise has on our health. It’s clear that our bodies need to move, and as we get older, we shouldn’t be thinking of doing less, but actually doing more to stay active.

Movement not only protects the joints and keeps the muscles strong, it also helps your energy levels, has protective cognitive benefits, and helps with overall mental health and wellbeing. Staying supple and maintaining our flexibility means we can move easier without overstretching and ‘pulling’ any muscles. Balance is another area. Often forgotten about, balance is key to help preventing falls. Balancing exercises strengthen the muscles in the feet, ankles and lower legs, making us more stable when walking.

Exercise doesn’t need to be hard work, and we certainly don’t need to go out and start running marathons. A regular walk every day is a good place to start.

It doesn’t matter what you do. Find a way to keep moving and age actively.

 

 

 

 

When you hit your 50’s, it usually around this time in our lives when we suddenly notice that it’s not as easy to do certain things as it once was.

You might find that getting up and down off the floor isn’t as easy on the knees, you find that you wake up feeling stiff and achy in the mornings, you might have trouble reaching up high because you have discomfort in your shoulder or arm, and bending down hurts your back.

All this creeps up on us slowly, sometimes over a long period of time. You’ll start to feel those aches and pains one day and wonder what you’ve done to make it hurt. In fact, you probably haven’t done anything. It’s just built up over time.

A lot of the discomfort we feel in our bodies is just a muscular issue from the muscles get tighter and tighter. This is a common problem if you spend your day sitting at a desk. Muscles tighten up in the neck and shoulders until one day it really starts to hurt.

Your body can carry a lot of tension before you start to notice a problem. Knots appear within the muscle fibres as they start to stick together. If left, this just gets worse, putting even greater strain on ligament and joints, which can then lead to wear and tear or the joints.

The best way to prevent this is to move your body as much a possible. You don’t need to do really vigorous exercise; some gentle and controlled mobility exercises may be all you need to keep the joints healthy and the muscles free from tension.

This is why I find Pilates so beneficial for the over 50’s and anyone else in their 60’s and 70’s can find great benefit as well. The exercises can easily be adapted if you are new to Pilates or even new to exercise.

Check our my standing warm up for beginners to get a better understanding of Pilates exercise.