The proliferation of exercise apps, youtube videos and fitness trackers mean you no longer have to go to a gym to get fit. Many of the online programmes and tools out there are free or available on a trial basis.
In addition to keeping as active as you can throughout the day, there are 3 main areas of exercise;
- Cardio exercise
Which is where you raise your heart rate and can not talk easily to someone. eg, ball games, running, aerobics.
Helps against: Heart disease, Cancers, diabetes.
- Strength/resistance training
Using free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, your own body weight and some high intensity Yoga constitutes as strength exercises. This becomes more important as you age as you start losing muscle mass from 30’s and bone mass even earlier.
Helps against: Osteoporosis, Dementia, Frailty
This will become more important as you age, falling is one of the most common ailments in the over 65’s. An easy test to see how good your balance is, is trying to put your socks on whilst standing on one leg unaided or standing one one leg for 30 seconds with your eyes closed. The ability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds has been shown to half your risk of dying in the next 10 years. To improve your balance, strength exercises will help as well as exercises that improve your core like; pilates and yoga. Helps against: Dementia, Frailty.
“People may think they need to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but just two sets of bench presses that take less than 5 minutes could be effective.”
DC Lee, associate professor of kinesiology
Do I need to do both aerobic and strength exercises?
If you are doing only aerobic or only muscle building you will inevitably be doing some of the other too, but you should try and do specific exercises for both. Studies have shown there are better outcomes for diabetes if you do both strength and aerobic than doing one, even if the overall time is the same.
What is the best exercise?
There are many different studies which advocate doing a certain type of exercise, but the most important thing is that the exercise you choose is one that you do consistently and you find enjoyable. The easier it is for you to do the exercise the more likely it is you will keep it up.