As physiotherapists it is very common for clients to let us know that they are walking for exercise a few times a week. This is something we love to hear because walking is wonderful for the purpose of maintaining a healthy weight, exercising our lower limbs and keeping up our cardiovascular fitness.
But is walking enough as our only form of exercise as we age? No. Walking as our sole form of exercise means we miss out on:
1. Maintaining good muscle mass.
Unfortunately muscle mass declines with age. Therefore the overwhelming advice is that we participate in strengthening exercises as we age. These exercises will ensure that we maintain our muscle mass and keep our whole body strong. Strengthening exercises include using weights or body resistance exercises (such as push ups, squats and tricep dips). So, as well as walking, weight training is critically important for maintaining both our muscle mass and bone density.
2. Bone strengthening for our upper body
In Australia, one in two women and one in three men over the age of 60 are likely to suffer a fracture to due osteoporosis. Our bones need load to stay strong – walking loads our lower limbs and spine, but it doesn’t help with our upper back, neck and arms. Exercises which are helpful for the bones in the upper part of the body include a combination of weight-bearing exercises and resistance training with free weights, a weight machine, or elastic bands. These exercises help us maintain good bone density while strengthening the bones of the upper body, a place where women in particular, are often weak.
3. Balance training
To prevent a decline in our balance and the possibility of having a fall it is important to include some balance training. This means practicing balancing and ensuring we keep our hip and core stability muscles communicating well.
4. Stretching and maintaining flexibility
Walking doesn’t help maintain our flexibility. It is a repetitive movement. Keeping our body flexible ensures we stay nimble and pain free. Including some gentle stretching in our day helps maintain our full range of movement and can assist with pain caused by prolonged repetitive actions.
5. Maintaining a strong upper body
Keeping good strength in our upper body means gardening without pain, being able to lift, move and enjoy our hobbies. To maintain strength in our upper body we need to use it… remember the old “use it or loss it” slogan? To keep strength in our upper body we need to be including some weights training to keep our shoulders, thoracic spine and neck strong.
The Physiotherapists at Core Gymball strive to ensure all of the above components are included in every class we run. Feel free to give us a call to chat about your goals and we can discuss which session would most suit your needs – (02) 9545 0134 / 0438 448 738
Be sure to check out the the rest of the website for more information, helpful tips and tricks.