Healthy Ageing: Exercise

Exercise is the best buy in public health and as Hippocrates said thousands of years ago, “Walking is men’s best medicine”.  Whenever someone asks me what is the best anti-ageing tool I always say exercise. Our body is just like a machine that needs the right fuel and needs to be always moving, otherwise it will get ‘rusted’ just like any machine that is not used.

When we are young we are usually more active and we play more games, (though even this changing in the digital age) but once we start working and have a family we seem to get busy, busy and more busy, hence there is no time for exercise. Of course once we retire, we are too old and suffer with all those medical issues and bone and joint problems to exercise.

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The most common excuse is no time. The best way to overcome that is to make exercise a part of your routine at work. Get a pedometer and start walking 10,000 steps a day. When I first started these five years ago, I realized I was doing only 4000 steps a day. I then started parking my car further, taking the stairs instead of the lift, taking the longer routes from my clinic to the wards until I was doing 10,000 steps a day. I did that for a month and then I did not need the pedometer any more. Once I got used to this, I then started climbing more number of steps a day to increase my endurance. I’ve also added on a 15 min HIIT regime every morning on waking up using weights to increase my strength and work on my core muscles.

My next focus will be balance and flexibility. Start slow especially if you have never exercise before and if you are start to exercise for the first time after forty years old, it is advisable to get a medical checkup first and get advise on the suitable workouts from your health practitioner. Always start slow and slowly build up. Take your time to go to the next stage. Once you’re used to a particular exercise and is able to cope with it, then go to the next level.

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Remember that you do not need to run a marathon or join a gym to start exercising. You can do it anywhere. The four exercises you need to incorporate are Cardio, Strengthening, Flexibility and Balance and Core exercises. Always good to start with cardio and once you are fitter then add in the rest. If you have the time and budget, you can start with a personal trainer which is beneficial especially in the beginning.

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