Age Action Alliance: Ageing and growing old are not the same thing

Old Age creeps up on you oh so stealthily then suddenly WHAM! – it hits you like a steam train.

At first, we just notice we groan a bit as we get up (or down) from the chair – so tend to sit for longer; then we might huff and puff walking up the stairs – so we take the escalator instead; carrying the shopping is hard work – so we wheel a trolley and park as close as we can to the supermarket door. Basically, we do less and try to make life easier.

Denial is a strong human trait, none of us likes to think we are getting older or admit to any decline in our abilities or levels of activity. Yet nature deals us a cruel triple whammy as every year our muscles waste, bone density reduces and our joints become stiffer.  Sounds gloomy, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

We have all seen photographs of centenarian marathon runners or body builders in their 90s – they are exceptional – but we don’t have to give into the ‘pipe and slippers’ just because the clock is ticking. Research has produced an overwhelming amount of evidence to show just how important it is to exercise – at any age. But just the word, exercise, is enough to put us off. So the new mantra should be to just MOVE MORE!

I have listened to, worked with and taught thousands of people who thought they were “past it” or “shouldn’t” or “couldn’t” – but they are not and they should and they can! With encouragement, persistence and a little knowledge, it is amazing what can be achieved. Once you start, just 10 minutes will suffice, the desire to do a little more comes naturally. The benefits can seem minor but they make a huge difference to our quality of life and are self-perpetuating.

MOVE IT

The question I get asked most often is, “What should I do…?”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but we do know that to stop the clock we should do a combination of strengthening, aerobic and flexibility exercises. These form the basis of everything else and leads to better health, balance and quality of life. This is why I have put together a library of free exercises, guides and videos. They’re all simple, fun and easy-to-follow. Just 20 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise can help you to stay stronger and more mobile. Just go to http://www.moveitorloseit.co.uk/getmoving/ for advice on how to get started.

Professor Janet Lord, expert in active ageing, explains, “…it is never too late to start. Even if you are already beginning to struggle with daily tasks, these exercises will allow you to take control and turn back the clock!”

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