Recent events have led to wholesale changes in the way we live our lives. But even when lockdown restrictions were at their most severe, one theme that remained at the top of the agenda was the need to get at least some exercise every day. It is vital for people of all ages, but is especially important for those in later years.
These days, we are lucky enough to live in a world where life expectancy is longer than at any point in human history. However, unless quality matches quantity, there could be little joy in living into our 90s and beyond.
Physical and mental fitness
The correlation between physical and mental health is one that is well understood, but it is particularly pertinent for the elderly. Staying fit means staying active, and that in turn allows seniors to engage more with the world around them and leads a rich and rewarding life in later years.
The converse is also true, however. Advancing years inevitably bring increased frailty, and this can easily lead to a fear of falling that can become almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fear leads the individual to be less active, which leads to reduced fitness and so a potentially catastrophic chain of events is set in motion. How can this cycle be broken?
West London might not be the first place that springs to mind as a place where people go to retire. However, around 10 percent of the local population is aged 70 and above. There is no shortage of local resources that can help increase confidence, reduce fear and break that vicious cycle. For example, CareCo is a mobility shop in West London that provides a range of aids, from traditional walking sticks to rollators.
Tools like these are absolutely vital to help older people maintain independence, stay healthy and to continue contributing to society. For a case in point, you need look no further than Captain Tom and his rollator. Now Sir Thomas Moore, the 100-year old war veteran famously raised more than £33 million for charity by completing 100 laps of his garden during the height of the coronavirus crisis.
When the gyms reopen, don’t make the mistake of thinking they will just be occupied by muscle-bound athletes in their youthful prime. West London is lucky enough to have a great range of fitness centres, and all of them offer classes for seniors.
It is important to find a class in your area that fits your particular circumstances. For example, there are specific workouts and exercises that are tailored to those managing arthritis, and there are even fitness classes for wheelchair users. Whatever your age or level of mobility, there is no excuse for not getting involved!
Of course, those classes will have to wait a little while yet till lockdown restrictions are further eased. In the meantime, however, why not check out some online classes for seniors? This NHS video resource is a great place to start.