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Fitness over fifty

Midlife is a good time to take stock of our lives and plan for the next fifty. Maybe a change in direction, a new interest or career. It is just as important to take stock of our bodies, understand their changing abilities, and maybe to change our lifestyle in order to promote a healthy body and mind, slowing down the process of ageing and leading to quality living.

It is good to understand the effects of ageing and to manage them. THE STORY OF AGEING

The good news is that research ( see 'Story of Ageing) has proved that the process of ageing can be slowed down by as much as 14 years. This implies a healthy life style, paying attention to what we eat and drink, avoiding smoking and increasing our levels of activity. More good news. It seems that someone who has not exercised but starts to do so, will catch up with those who have been exercising, within three years.

Stretching muscles, tendons and other connective tissue keeps our joints supple. Check that exercise instructors are adequately trained before attending exercise groups. High impact exercises should be avoided as they can traumatise your joints. Exercise in water, preferably warm, is particularly good for those who move with difficulty and have problems with balance and pain.

The earlier we become aware of the issue of FALLING the better as preventative measures can be taken. In order to ensure the ability to get up after a fall, it is a good idea to get on and off the floor at least once a month. Any difficulty in doing this seems to indicate a likelihood of falling and should be reported to your GP. There are professionals trained in Falls Prevention who can assist with exercises and advice. It has been found that people with dementia are prone to lie for a prolonged time after a fall which has serious consequences.

It is good to be aware of the symptoms of DEMENTIA The good news is we can forestall this to some extent, by improving the blood supply to the brain. An active lifestyle, particularly physically active, has been shown to be of greatest benefit.

The advice given elsewhere on Movingtherapy is applicable to the older person, maybe even more so. Load up the attachment below to get a list of MAINTENANCE EXERCISES It is specially compiled for the older person who needs to focus attention on certain movements. 

The years after 50 can be the prime of life if we give careful thought to them. Part of the thinking should include how you would like the older years to unfold. As we age, wider society becomes involved in our well being as we often need assistance in one way or another. Sometimes a compromise will have to be made between what we want and what is possible.

It is always good to recognise these issues well before decisions have to be made, enabling you to be proactive rather than being forced into hasty decisions as health suddenly declines. It is just as important as having a will, maybe even more so as it affects us directly, and those we love. If possible a down-sizing of our home and its contents should be part of that plan. Give thought to family members who will be forced to clear a sometimes crowded house, adding to the stress of losing a dear relative.