benefits of fitness: Love your grandparents? Get them to exercise now
You already know that exercise offers numerous benefits for older adults. But how to persuade your grandparents? We’ve got your back.
Walking is man’s best medicine - so goes the words of Hippocrates in 400 BC. But over the centuries, it appears this important message has been lost in an increasingly sedentary world. We’ve accepted that old age can mean frailty and disease; that over 65s enduretheir later years, rather than enjoy them. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
As grandma and grandad get older, the risks of developing chronic health conditions increases. Which provides the perfect excuse to get them out for a brisk walk on the beach, a game of tennis, or even a bike ride.
Studies have shown that regular exercise in those over 65 boosts bone health, improves brain function, preserve muscle mass, keep joints moving and helps with day-to-day functional activities such as carrying shopping bags or even opening jars. But Department of Health figures show that only 17% of men and 13% of women over 65 are sufficiently active, and the WHO reported that 3.2 million deaths every year are attributable to physical inactivity.
These shocking numbers can easily be remedied with at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week. But what counts as moderate-aerobic activity? Read on:
Best activities to do with grandparents
Back to Hippocrates - hitting the trails can be the perfect activity to do with grandparents or as a whole family. Being outside increases vitamin D (Vitamin D can be your best friend) uptake and improves your mood, especially if you’re striding with someone you know. Daily walking can boost metabolism, reduce belly fat and cut risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes.
There’s a yoga class for everyone and the benefits for older adults are plentiful. Many of the poses in yoga improve the balance and stability that often deteriorates with ageing and can lead to falls. The gentle exercise boosts flexibility and joint health, lowers high blood pressure and improves breathing. A recent study showed that a 12-week yoga programme significantly improved respiratory function in elderly women.
The biggest benefit of swimming for older adults is that it’s gentle on the joints. It’s non-weight-bearing, so grandparents with joint pain or discomfort can enjoy a low-impact workout without straining the knees, hips or spine. It’s also brilliant for heart health, making the heart larger and stronger while lowering blood pressure. Not only that - the mental benefits of swimming (improved mood, slashed stress levels and brain function boost) are worth heading to the pool alone for.
Regular group exercise has been proven to contribute to balanced health in older adults, with a range of benefits including improved functional health, greater social connectedness, an active mind and a sense of security. From light and balanced water aerobics to groovy dance, our group classes are designed for all ages and abilities - so you could even pair up with grandma and enjoy a workout together.
Interested in more? Here are 5 tips to keep in shape as you get older you can share with your grandparents.
Don't forget to invite them for a Club visit: Find a Holmes Place Club near you here.