In order to maintain a healthy weight, exercise plays an important role alongside a healthy diet and nutrition. Whilst improving fitness and getting stronger takes longer the older we get it is never too late to start. Importantly, the older we get, remaining physically active becomes more important than ever for your health.
How does exercise assist weight management?
Whilst physical activity and exercise has countless physical and mental benefits, it plays a critical role in weight management. Weight management can include maintaining or losing weight. As we get older, weight management becomes increasingly challenging as our metabolism naturally slows. When exercising, your body increases its metabolism as extra energy needs to be consumed. Depending on the type of exercise that you perform, increase metabolism continues even after you stop exercise.
How much do I need to exercise?
Current recommendations encourage 30 minutes of moderate exercise over four to five days per week. A good indicator for moderate exercise is the capacity to hold a conversation whilst exercising.
In order to achieve results, the key to exercise is consistency and continuity. Starting and maintaining regular exercise can be challenging at any age. Ensuring that you schedule appropriate exercise breaks during the week is important to avoid the likelihood of injury. Aim to achieve at least 2 days of low intensity of easier exercise especially when starting out.
What type of exercise is best?
In many cases, an individualised approach to exercise prescription is important to identify exercises that are safe and effective for weight management. A combination of cardiovascular exercise (such as walking, swimming, cycling) and resistance exercises should be included for weight management.
Most importantly for weight management, resistance exercise is crucial. It has been shown that resistance and strength building exercise can actually increase your metabolism even after exercising.
Injuries associated with exercising are commonly associated with improper exercise or exercise technique. In addition to being an annoyance, injuries are a significant disincentive to exercise and not allow for consistent and continuous improvement.
Your medical history including conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis are important to consider when commencing an exercise program. If you are unsure where to start, be sure to speak to your health professional. Health professionals such as physiotherapists and exercise physiologists are well placed to assist with a tailored and safe exercise program.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what exercise you enjoy. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about weight management and exercise in Episode 14 of The Better Ageing Podcast:
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