Exercise isn’t just for the young, but many of us as we age, tend to put fitness to one side. This shouldn’t be the case, however, as there is so much that over 60s can do to keep fit. Fitness classes are a great option to consider and bring along a number of fantastic benefits besides general health improvements. Fitness classes also come in all shapes and sizes, from yoga to martial arts, so you can certainly find something to suit you.
If you have stopped exercising, perhaps due to health issues or limited mobility, this article is for you. We have put together a number of fantastic reasons why joining a fitness class should be considered, from benefits to your mobility to mental health.
Due to the current concerns about the coronavirus, it’s important that everyone follows the government’s guidelines regarding any unnecessary travel and advice about keeping safe.
Fitness classes have myriad benefits, as we are about to discuss. Nothing is better than participating in person but sometimes this is just not possible. At times when leaving the house isn’t an option, luckily virtual fitness classes can fill the void. Read on to discover the benefits fitness classes offer, no matter how you participate.
Just because you rely on straight stairlifts at home, doesn’t mean that you can’t join a fitness class. In fact, keeping active with certain exercises can even improve your mobility. Regular exercise in a safe and controlled environment has been shown to improve strength, flexibility, and posture, all of which will help to increase your general mobility, balance and coordination.
The team at heath club chain Total Fitness spoke to us about this subject, sharing their findings of their recent research: “The research, conducted by Total Fitness, revealed that Brits begin to struggle with daily activities such as walking up the stairs from as early as 60 years old, however regular exercise is helping retirees hold onto their independence. It also revealed that 36% of over 65s exercise at least four times a week to fight the signs of ageing.”
The research also found that “almost 1 in 5 retirees (18%) believe regular exercise is key to their prolonged independence,” and that “many active retirees were found to be more supple than those aged 35-44 who do little exercise - 24% of whom claim to suffer from stiff joints, compared to just 16% of over 65s who get plenty of exercise.”
Image credit: Move it or Lose it
Julie Robinson, the CEO of Move it or Lose it – which designs fitness classes for improving mobility – further explains why exercise shouldn’t be avoided by the less mobile: “NHS guidelines for the over 60s say that we should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week plus activities aimed at maintaining muscle strength, balance and flexibility on at least two days a week. Muscle mass and bone density start to decline after 50, so going to an exercise class is a great way to get the right kind of exercise along with good advice and motivation. You don’t have to be fit to go to a fitness class, whatever your age or mobility there’s a class that’s right for you.”
Move it or Lose it also has a range of award-winning DVDs available so you can stay fit at home with a virtual fitness session if you are unable to make a class in person.
Nina, a yoga and Pilates instructor, and founder of Sabey Wellness (@sabey_wellness), spoke to us about the benefits of fitness classes for over 60s and made sure to emphasise that these classes can be for everyone: “It’s never too late to get fit. No matter how old you are. In fact, the older you get, keeping active becomes more important than ever. Even for those who are less mobile, a fitness class is a great way to commit to your exercise goals. Plus, it keeps you social as well as mobile.
“You may feel discouraged by aches or pains or perhaps lack confidence, but you’ll notice in a class environment there’s generally all abilities and levels. Any good instructor will provide any modifications necessary for you to enjoy your class and move in a safe and healthy way. One of my favourite classes to teach is an over 60s fitness class where a third of the attendees are in chairs because of health-related issues. No matter what, everyone still gets an amazing workout!”
Steven Virtue, Fitness Content and Programming Manager at Total Fitness, comments: “There are countless benefits to maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle, not least for fighting the signs of ageing.”
Beyond improving mobility, joining a fitness class can also improve your physical health in a number of other important areas – it’s not about becoming a competitive athlete. Exercise can speed up your metabolism (which slows down with age) and burns calories, both of which can lead to weight loss. It can also reduce the impact of illness and disease, lead to better blood pressure, and a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Mare-Claire, a Pilates and yoga teacher from the Movement Specialist, adds: “Group fitness classes are a great way to meet other people in the same boat or several steps along on their fitness journey which can be really inspiring. Any qualified teacher is trained to adapt exercises to suit all fitness levels and even the fittest and strongest of people have things they find difficult. However, as you improve and see changes in the way your body looks and feels; you start to see why so many people around the world consider their classes a necessity rather than a luxury.”
So tonight all classes went online for a while. It was weird but fun! So happy we have options!! . In May, my Pilates Teacher Training Course will also be delivered online, in line with the current situation. Given that I've taught 2 classes tonight with 100% enthusiasm and input, I do not plan to bring anything less to the teacher training. ✊ . Contact @clairebaker76 at @ybfittraining to get yourself on this course! This year is going to be LIFE-CHANGING in so many ways...what's your story going to be? Are you going to let it swallow you? Or are you going to use it as a springboard to your future?? . #pilatesteacher #pilatesteachertraining #pilatesonline #onlinetraining #pilatesmat #pilatespros #pilatessouthampton #southamptonpilates #southamptonuk
Joining a fitness class is about more than improving physical health as regular exercise can also reap great mental health benefits. From improving the quality of our sleep – which is important for general health – to relieving stress due to endorphins that are reduced, these benefits are noticeable. Further still, exercise can improve your brain’s health, slowing cognitive decline, improving concentration, and boosting your memory.
Keeping fit can even help to reduce the risk of getting brain disorders like dementia. Alzheimer’s Society says: “Several studies looking at the effect of aerobic exercise (exercise that increases your heart rate) in middle-aged or older adults have reported improvements in thinking and memory, and reduced rates of dementia.”.
Taking up new hobbies is not only beneficial to mental health, but they also bring so much joy and pleasure to our lives. Fitness classes – with all the different types available – often become the new favourite hobby of those who participate. So, it is most certainly worth exploring the options available, seeing what matches your tastes, and giving a few classes a go. You never know, you might come across something that becomes your next obsession, providing enjoyment and satisfaction for many years to come.
As mentioned, there are myriad types of fitness classes to try, so there shouldn’t be a little problem finding something that strikes your fancy. Below is a handful of options that you could consider:
Nina from Sabey Wellness spoke about how yoga, in particular, can benefit over 60s: “Yoga not only sees huge physical benefits for over 60s such as flexibility and posture but there are mental and spiritual benefits too. By attending a regular yoga class, seniors are likely to experience increased mobility and pain, such as arthritis, is likely to become more manageable. It’s also a great chance to test and improve balance which helps prevent potential falls and injuries.
“Mentally and spiritually, it doesn’t take long to feel more relaxed and peaceful. Many seniors report that they sleep better at night thanks to their yoga habit. As yoga focuses a lot on breath, it also strengthens lungs and heart. Meditation and breath work will help seniors feel rested and rejuvenated as it calms the nervous system down.”
You can find even more options here and there are also a number of classes and organisations that specialise in fitness classes for older people. These include:
Move It or Lose It: Julie from Move it or Lose it explains what their classes can offer over 60s: “Move it or Lose it classes incorporate the four vital components to help us age well: flexibility, aerobics, balance and strength (or FABS for short). They are not just fitness classes; they offer opportunities to socialise too which is really important for our wellbeing. The exercises can be done seated or standing so they are accessible for all and have been shown to turn back the clock by 10 years.”
Vitality: This Lincolnshire based programme is specifically for over 60s and approved by the NHS, utilising simple exercises performed to music. Some classes even include tea and biscuits!
EXTEND Exercise: The fitness classes by EXTEND are designed for older people and disabled adults with seated and standing exercises to music. Catering for all abilities, the classes are ideal for combining exercise in a social environment.
If you think a fitness class could be something that would benefit you as a stairlift user, do some research and get out there to reap the benefits!
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This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.