Keeping Fit – Too Much Trouble?

You should think about this topic carefully because it can shape the quality of the rest of your life.

You know that exercise is good for you but in a busy life it is hard to do anything about it. However, it is still important that you set yourself a fitness programme even if it is only a very modest one.

You need to be clear about your objectives. What you decide can be altered if you wish, however, having a very clear view of what you need to achieve makes the design of your personal exercise programme much more straight forward and the setting of goals becomes easier.

Forget the gym and expensive training equipment such as rowing machines etc. Think of building a simple plan around your daily life. Walking instead of taking the car,  using stairs instead of the lift and a few simple exercises at home such as running on the spot, skipping and using resistance bands. Keep it simple and keep it up each day.

Keeping Fit

Changing With The Years

Your needs will change as you get older. That is an obvious statement but it has a bearing on the exercise and fitness goals you set for yourself.

For those in their twenties and thirties you will want to use exercise to improve appearance, control weight, enhance self esteem and possibly as a form of stress relief especially if you are in a high pressure job. This means that you will want quick results and will probably be happy to work hard to get that extra bit of benefit. Long term goals may be something for the future. This is the stage in your life where you are more likely to use a gym or train with some dedicated friends.

During your forties or fifties your concerns may be focused on your family and paying the mortgage plus lots of other bills. You will be less concerned with your appearance and more interested in your longer term health and maintaining your activity level (keeping up with the kids!)

You are likely to still need to deal with a stressful life but time may be harder to find,  Thus you might opt for a less intense type of fitness exercising but find your programme needs to be very flexible to accommodate the other demands on your time. You are quite likely to drop ideas of the gym and concentrate on working out at home. Avoid over training but if you do end up with a few aches and pains you can gently massage the legs, neck and shoulders and even apply a quality branded muscle gel.

For those in their sixties, seventies or beyond, you must not confine yourself to a chair. The need to maintain health, flexibility and muscle strength is now vital to you. Here your exercise plan may be easy to fit in for most of the year but you will probably be pursuing less vigorous exercises. It is a time to take full advantage of walking or sports such as golf etc.

but you may feel inclined to become involved in exercise where there is a social dimension such as studio classes for Yoga or Tai Chi or even dancing, depending on your personality. Some of these classes cater for people with mobility problems.

Just A Little Bit More

Certain objectives cannot be met by exercise alone. For example weight loss can definitely be achieved with exercise  but serious weight loss needs a combination of physical exercise (burning calories) and targeted dieting. The same is true for those who want to slow down the ageing process. You cannot actually prevent ageing but you can slow it down.

Exercise will play an essential part in this, however, you will also need to eat a sensible diet, avoid smoking, avoid too much direct sunlight  (strong UV light damages the skin)  and getting too stressed. That way you should stay looking and feeling younger whatever your age.

You Know It Makes Sense

If you successfully match a simple exercise programme to your personal lifestyle, you are much more likely to make a success of the project and be able to keep it up well into the future. A future which will be much more healthy much more fun.

Donna L Dearjane is rehabilitation nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital. She works in the geriatrics ward.

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