As we come into the warmer months, it’s a good idea to think about fitness, strength and activity levels which can all drop over the colder wet winter. Your body’s ability to build and maintain muscle strength begins to decline once you reach your 30s and you can lose as much as 3-5% of muscle mass each year if you don’t take steps to maintain it (CSP 2018). Losing fitness and strength can impact your health in many ways including, increasing your risk of feeling unsteady and falling as you get older.
Guidelines suggest most of us should spend at least 3 hours a week doing activities that strengthen muscles and bones as well as working the heart and lungs. This can help to keep you fit and healthy, whilst preventing falls as we age. In addition, exercise & being active is strongly linked to improving your sleep, general health, and mood.
There are many different ways to be more active and improve your muscle strength and fitness – and it doesn’t just involve the gym and exercise classes. Carrying heavier shopping, walking up in the hills, mowing the lawn, and moving compost bags are all activities that can increase strength and fitness. Your body will begin to adapt as it gets stronger so try to what you’re doing and build up weight/intensity/time in order to keep progressing. The key to success with building your fitness and increasing your activity levels is finding things you enjoy doing and that fit well into your lifestyle and routines.
Remember to pace yourself when starting something new, if you get aches afterwards just build up slowly but if it’s painful go slower or stop. Always speak to your doctor before starting a new activity particularly if you’ve not done any exercise for several years.
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