Your Health is Your Wealth – with a focus on physical activity

There’s no denying it – none of us is getting younger! We all tend to take our health for granted until things start going wrong and then often we try to resolve the issues quickly as possible. 

The human body was not designed for the spectator role. With prolonged inactivity muscles become weaker, joints stiffen and bones become more brittle, which makes it harder to function well on a daily basis. The body is a remarkable machine designed for movement and has great recuperative powers – even after long periods of reduced use.  The long term implications of a failure to stay strong and well balanced is a reduction in functional independence and quality of life (with a greater increase risk of falls and associated injuries and fractures).
Arthritic joints need to be kept mobile and strong.  Weak muscles need to be strengthened and kept strong to help control our body movements.  This in turn can assist in maintaining good bone strength and is a preventative measure to reduce the risk of falls. In fact we need to keep everything going as much as possible for as long as possible 

As we said before, part of the physical decline associated with ageing is actually a result of reducing activity levels. Many of the so-called age related changes can be improved with appropriate exercise. It is a great temptation to take it easy and surrender to the idea not to try anything new, especially exercise. We can start making excuses like “Too old” “It’s too late” “Can’t be bothered” “What do you expect at my age!” 
Physical activity programs combining aerobic, strength and flexibility components have promising results which can protect against physical and cognitive decline associated with ageing.  We can make significant gains in muscular strength and walking speed through resistance / strength training but by adding balance and gait training this can significantly improve some balance and gait measures also. 
It’s never too late to become active and be able to function as well as possible.  We all need adequate strength, balance and functional mobility to prevent loss of body control so as to maintain an active lifestyle. A little extra effort may be hard (especially in the early stages) but in time there can be improvements in strength, flexibility and energy levels. 
There are many ways of exercising – all of which have merit. There are many clinical, allied health and fitness professionals ready and willing to help you in your endeavours……. but ultimately it’s up to you! 

“Don’t let the myths of ageing become self -fulfilling prophecies”
“Those who do not find the time to exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness”

Sally Castell – Movement Matters