Ageing and exercise

E is for Exercise

One of the most alarming things about getting older is that whilst the mind stays young the bounce that once went with it is no longer around. If you are a natural athlete you find you no longer have the capacity to run for the bus, never mind a half marathon. If you have always loved walking – up in the hills, along the coastline, claiming the right to ramble over some aristocrat’s acres, it’s a shock to discover one’s new limitations.

And yet all the experts say that exercise is the way to keep fit and ward off some of the unpleasant consequences of age. There will be no body-building for us – bulging muscles in peculiar places -it’s the heart muscle that requires our attention, and to keep it strong we need to test it by heightened activity.

Michael Beazley in his book ‘Boosting Your Energy’ says that if you increase your circulation:

  • Your brain will be more active which increases vitality
  • Your liver will eliminate toxins more efficiently
  • Your muscles will become stronger so your skeleton will be better supported
  • Your immune system will be enhanced making you less vulnerable to illness
  • Mood enhancing brain chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins will be released
  • You burn more calories
  • You strengthen your heart and improve bone density, helping to protect you against the likelihood of future heart disease and osteoporosis.

Beazley has plenty of good advice for setting up an exercise regime, such as don’t be over-ambitious, decide on doing things you really enjoy doing rather than setting up a system of self-punishment, buy some comfortable walking shoes and drink lots of water.

Following my heart operation I try to attend a rehabilitation exercise sessions once or twice.

I surprise myself despite the fact that they are strenuous and I find myself doing things I would never have contemplated even when I was young (indeed would have done almost anything to get out of). We are told – ‘if you can’t get here, do some walking’. That seems to be the key exercise. Exercised legs and arms give energy and wellbeing to the whole body.

So, off you go?